University of Technology Sydney

92685 Working Within a Strengths-Based Midwifery Model

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2024 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Health
Credit points: 6 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject examines the role of the midwife when working with women and families who experience social or emotional complexities which impact on maternal and infant wellbeing. The subject builds on students' understanding of the community resources available to women and their families who require additional support.

Students gain a deeper understanding of the diverse complexities for some women and their families by developing an understanding and knowledge base around ethically challenging areas including domestic violence, stillbirth, grief and loss during pregnancy and child protection, female genital mutilation, and perinatal mental health. Students enhance their health literacy to take into account the unique needs of each woman and family. Students develop their midwifery knowledge and skills to enable them to work to the full scope of midwifery practice including understanding the midwife role and responsibility of consultation, referral, and escalation in situations that sit outside the midwife’s scope of practice. Legal, ethical, and professional issues regarding the challenges in midwifery care are also explored as well as understanding appropriate referral pathways and working effectively within a multidisciplinary team.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
A. Analyse the role of the midwife when working with women and families with multiple social and emotional complexities
B. Identify the role and responsibilities of the midwife in complying with child protection legislation
C. Apply legal ethical and professional responsibilities to midwifery practice
D. Describe referral pathways and community support available for women and families experiencing challenges in relation to pregnancy and in the early postnatal period
E. Evaluate the barriers and strategies associated working with interdisciplinary teams including community services and non-government organisations
F. Assess, plan, implement and evaluate clinical decision making in midwifery practice.
G. Identify the role and responsibilities of the midwife in working with women who are experiencing domestic or family violence

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the following graduate attributes:

  • Practice woman-centred care (1.0)
  • Appreciate the centrality of the relationship with each woman to the practice of midwifery (1.2)
  • Are professionally competent midwives who provide safe and effective midwifery care using intelligent kindness (2.0)
  • Demonstrate critical thinking and sound clinical judgment that is based on evidence and reflects appropriate reasoning within the relevant professional codes and guidelines (2.2)
  • Communicate effectively using spoken, written and non-verbal language across a range of contexts and to diverse audiences (2.3)
  • Work collaboratively in order to provide excellence in maternity care (3.0)
  • Participate effectively as a member of an interdisciplinary healthcare team (3.3)
  • Are resilient, emotionally competent midwives who foster human flourishing (4.0)
  • Practise midwifery within a primary health care philosophy (5.1)

Teaching and learning strategies

Students will participate in a range of teaching and learning strategies that are designed to encourage you to engage with challenges in Midwifery.

Students access online learning resources via Canvas to be completed before the scheduled Zoom workshops. These learning resources include online readings, modules, and videos.

This subject benefits from pre-recorded online guest lecturers who have expertise when working with women in challenging situations. Lectures enable students to understand complex descriptions and terminology and sensitive or confronting topics.

Workshops will be undertaken through the online platform Zoom. The Zoom tutorial will take place in the scheduled tutorial timeframe as per myTimetable. Workshop activities are provided and students will discuss professional and expert narratives with key informants from relevant organisations. Workshops offer students a safe space for facilitated debriefing and reflection on their skills, values, and experiences. Professional and consumer stories will be utilised to discuss personal and/or professional stories concerning the key concepts and learning objectives.

Cases are used to help students explore challenges in midwifery scenarios. Cases depict women and their families in clinical or community situations. Students use these scenarios to learn concepts, interpret information, form clinical judgments, and develop creative solutions. Critical thinking is developed through analysis, interpretation of, and reflection on issues or situations.

Content (topics)

  • Working with women who experience psycho-social and emotional challenges in pregnancy and the early parenting period.
  • Analysing the referral systems and care pathways for women with challenges during pregnancy and the early parenting period.


Assessment task 1: Referral letter and pathway for a woman with complex needs


This assessment item is designed to further develop students communication skills through writing a referral letter to another health professional and to develop a referral pathway for a woman experiencing challenges in her pregnancy. Both of these skills are important parts of the role of the midwife.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, D, E and F

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

1.0, 2.0 and 3.0

Type: Case study
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 60%

Part 1A: 250-350 words (no references are required)

Part 1B: 1250-1500 words (a minimum of 10 references are required using APA 7 formatting and these will not be included in the word count)


See Canvas for detailed assessment criteria

Assessment task 2: Video diary


This assessment is designed to facilitate deep reflection on student’s experiences, thoughts, and observations related to the role of the midwife when working with women and families who have social or emotional complexities.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B, C, D, E, F and G

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

1.2, 2.2, 2.3, 3.3, 4.0 and 5.1

Type: Reflection
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 40%

Video diary should be no longer than 10 mins in duration

Complete the provided template as per instructions provided in Canvas


See Canvas for detailed assessment criteria

Required texts

Cummins, A., Gillett, K., Mclaughlin, K., Musgrave, L., & Wood, J. (2023). Stories in Midwifery: Reflection, Inquiry, Action. Elsevier Health Sciences.


1. Australian College of Midwives (2013). National midwifery guidelines for consultation and referral (3rd ed.). Australian College of Midwives.

2. Barnes, M., & Rowe, J. (2013). Child, youth and family health: strengthening communities (2nd ed.). Elsevier.

3. Baird, K., & Creedy, D. (2015). Midwives’ role in detecting domestic violence. The conversation.

4. Macaldowie, A., Wang, Y., Chughtai, A., & Chambers, G. (2014). Assisted reproductive technology in Australia and New Zealand (2012), National Perinatal Epidemiology and Statistics Unit, The University of New South Wales.

5. Pairman, S., Tracy, S., Dahlen, H., & Dixon, L. (2019). Midwifery: preparation for practice (Fourth edition). Elsevier Australia.

6. Redshaw, M., Malouf, R., Gao, H., & Gray, R. (2013). Women with disability: The experience of maternity care during pregnancy, labour and birth and the postnatal period. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 13(1), 174-174. doi:10.1186/1471-2393-13-174.

Other resources

UTS Student Centre
Building 10

Monday to Friday: 9am - 5pm
Tel: 1300 ASK UTS (1300 275 887)

Details for student centres:

For other resources/ information refer to the Faculty of Health website ( and Canvas at:

UTS Library
The Library has a wide range of resources, facilities and services to support you including textbooks, subject readings, health literature databases, workshops and bookable study rooms. There is also a team of librarians to help you with your questions available via online chat, phone and in person. W:, Facebook: utslibrary, X (Twitter): @utslibrary Tel: (02) 9514 3666.

Improve your academic and English language skills
Marks for all assessment tasks such as assignments and examinations are given not only for what you write but also for how you write. If you would like the opportunity to improve your academic and English language skills, make an appointment with the HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support) Service in Student Services.

HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support)
HELPS provides assistance with English language proficiency and academic language. Students who need to develop their written and/or spoken English should make use of the free services offered by HELPS, including academic language workshops, vacation intensive courses, drop-in consultations, individual appointments and Conversations@UTS ( HELPS staff are also available for drop-in consultations at the UTS Library. Phone (02) 9514 9733.

Please see for additional information on other resources provided to students by UTS.

The Accessibility and Financial Assistance Service
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