Maternity connect: Evaluation of an education program for rural midwives and nurses

Sex Reprod Healthc. 2020 Dec:26:100558. doi: 10.1016/j.srhc.2020.100558. Epub 2020 Sep 28.


Background: Rural and regional health services often find it difficult to maintain their maternity service and skills of their maternity workforce and enable women to give birth close to home. The Maternity Connect Program is a professional development initiative aimed at supporting and upskilling rural and regional maternity workforces to meet their maternity population care needs.

Aim: To evaluate the Maternity Connect Program from the perspectives and experiences of participating midwives/nurses and health services.

Methods: A retrospective audit of data routinely collected as part of the Maternity Connect Program: initial needs assessments (baseline survey), and one month and six months post-placement surveys completed by participants, placement health services and base health services. The main outcome measures were: participants' (midwives and health services) level of satisfaction with the Program; and changes in midwives'/nurses' perceived level of confidence in performing key midwifery skills after participating in the program.

Results: Respondents (n = 97 midwives/nurses; n = 23 base health services; n = 4 placement health services) were satisfied with the program and there was an increase in midwives/nurses' confidence when providing specific aspects of maternity care (birthing, neonatal and postnatal). Midwives/nurses report transferring skills learnt back to their base health service.

Conclusion: The Maternity Connect Program appears to be a successful educational model for maintaining and increasing clinician confidence in rural and regional areas.

Keywords: Australia; Education; Health services; Midwifery; Nurses; Rural; Workforce.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Home Childbirth / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Maternal Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Midwifery / economics*
  • Practice Patterns, Nurses' / organization & administration*
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rural Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data