Issue 7
Monday, 02 September 2019
Charles Darwin University
Mpho Dube with a mother and infant from the Posyandu (community clinic meeting place) Sukawati 2 Health Centre
Mpho Dube with a mother and infant from the Posyandu (community clinic meeting place) Sukawati 2 Health Centre

Midwifery placement breaks new ground

Midwifery lecturer and research project leader, Mpho Dube is breaking new ground with an innovative approach to international placements for students.

Ms Dube recently spent 14 days in Bali with colleague Dr Angela Bromley, Balinese researchers, nine Australian students and eight students and staff from Bali.

Together they delivered learning experiences for students and successfully conducted a joint Australia-Bali midwifery research project.

“In the past, midwifery students would go to Bali to see how midwives there work but really what that meant was going and visiting a lot of health services and the Balinese students were not benefiting from the opportunity,” Ms Dube said.

“This time the learning was in the conversations and exchange of knowledge and practice between Australian and Balinese students and facilitators.”

She said the Australian students were surprised by the extended scope of practice of Balinese midwives, who practised more autonomously and provided longer-term care for mothers and children up to age five, including counselling, education and contraception.

In addition, Balinese midwives incorporate the cultural practice of yoga into everyday midwifery practice. They perform oxytocin massages on women to release the oxytocin hormone, which is important for breastfeeding.

The experience has given student midwives from both countries an appreciation for how to care for women from different cultures, or vary their practice depending on where they are.

“If there is any cultural practice that is beneficial, why not incorporate it into our midwifery practice?” Ms Dube said.

“As midwives we can start to evaluate our own practice and maybe adopt simple practices from each other.”

The research team, which also includes Associate Professor Dr Sadie Geraghty and Senior Lecturer Angela Bull, plans to produce three papers. The first paper, titled “Learning Together”, will be released later this year, focusing on students’ perspectives and recommendations to improve the placement experience.