The code of professional conduct for midwives in Australia describes a midwife as an individual that has duly qualified in the field of providing primary care to a woman before, during and after delivery (ANMC, 2008). The code of professional ethics further describes a woman as an individual that undergoes normal physiological processes in an endeavor to protect and preserve human life. The ACM philosophy of midwifery describes a woman as a person that ought to be respected and treated with honor for the paramount role they play in society. The philosophy is the base on some fundamental political assumptions and principles. Among those principles is the fact that all expectant women are entitled to primary care, before, during and after delivery. It is upon the basis of such philosophy that all areas, including the rural areas and small towns are entitled to a well equipped and sufficiently staffed maternity and midwifery unit. This paper is a proposal for the establishment of such a unit in Waljay, a town in Australia where caseload midwifery will be given prominence, as a way of serving the residents of the town.
Waljay is a small town with a population of 3000 people. The percentage of the natives is low at 10%. Talking on the need for midwifery, there was a record of 200 births per annum before the maternity unit that was in place was closed down in the year 2005. The center to be opened will be staffed with six professionally qualified midwives, who are residents in the town of Waljay. Among the midwives, two of them are not only professionally qualified, but have a wealth of understanding and know-how in as far as home birthing is concerned. It is projected that one midwife will serve as a primary midwife to approximately 25 women. This means that the same midwife acts as a secondary midwife to the same number of mothers (National Rural Health Alliance, 2006). The midwives will be entrusted with the duty of taking care of the mothers in the antenatal period, during birth, as well as the postnatal period. The midwives will be reachable round the clock, just in case an emergency occurs or the mothers they are in charge of go into labor during odd hours. In the event that the primary midwife is not reachable on mobile phone, the secondary midwife shall be contacted.
The administrator of the health unit will be in charge of maintaining the duty roster. The administrator will manage the rotation of duties between night and day shifts. Additionally, such administrator will be in charge of managing such cases as absenteeism, lateness to work as well as assigning the mothers to both their primary and secondary midwives. In the event that there is an emergency, the administrator facilitates the transportation of the mothers to the nearest base hospital through the flying doctors service (National Rural Health Alliance, 2006). However, the administrator will only be required to contact the service in the event that the emergency is a severe case. Otherwise, the mothers with complications that are not acute shall be transported from the maternity unit to the base hospital by road. Apart from these duties, the administrator will be in charge of the general running of the health facility.
In order to meet the need for effortless healthy childbearing, the maternity unit shall be equipped with two proficient general practitioners. Such practitioners will be in charge of obstetric services and other complications. Additionally, they will be in charge of administering such technical services as accelerated labor and handling cases of complicated deliveries. The national midwifery guidelines for consultation and referrals published in the year 2004 make it an essential requirement that all maternity units have, in addition to having professionally qualified, nurses and midwives, at least two professionally qualified general practitioners who have the capacity to handle cases that are beyond the primary caregivers (Moore, 2009). The second edition of the guidelines, published in 2004 by the Australian college of midwifery establishes the relationship between the primary caregivers, the mothers and the doctors. The guidelines, which declare the midwife as the most significant primary caregiver, shall be applied in the establishment of authority and responsibilities among the work force.
In addition to adopting and operating by the midwifery guidelines, the unit shall work by the predetermined code of professional ethics. Such ethics, which shall be made easily accessible to all employees of the unit, shall form the foundation of the expected conduct within the organization. The primary healthcare philosophy of ACM shall be used in determining how the nurses, general practitioners and the women shall relate. The administrator’s office shall oversee the implementation and adoption of such ethics and guidelines. Apparently, the institution of the maternal unit shall help the resident mothers access the essential postpartum care for six weeks. This shall be offered by the primary midwife. Such services as nutritional counseling shall be offered to the mothers as a way of promoting the wellbeing of the mothers and children (National Rural Health Alliance, 2006). From this proposal, it is worth noting that the establishment of the maternity unit will offer employment opportunities to the people, especially women in the community. This is in accordance to the liberal feminist principles.
ANMC. (2008). Code of Ethics for Midwives in Australia. Deakin West, A.C.T: The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council
Moore, A. (2009). Pioneering a New Model of Midwifery Care: A Phenomenological Study of Midwifery Group Practice. Victoria: Australia Catholic University Research Services
National Rural Health Alliance. (2006). The Principles for maternity service in rural and remote Australia. Deakin West, A.C.T: National Rural Health Alliance Inc.