Transforming current maternity care starts with education.

Using a transformative framework, we are generating evidence to help influence education standards, curriculum design, programs and professional development opportunities to support the current and future maternity and midwifery workforce.

A number of projects have been completed or are currently underway, including:


Trans-Tasman Midwifery Education Consortium Projects

Promoting critical thinking in midwifery students


An extensive body of research work has been undertaken to measure and evaluate the development of critical thinking in undergraduate midwifery students.

Study 1 – Measurement of Critical Thinking in Midwifery

In recognition of the lack of tools that measure critical thinking in midwifery, and the uniqueness and complexity of this  skill, three tools that explicitly measure the application of critical thinking in midwifery practice were developed, piloted and psychometrically tested (Carter Assessment of Critical Thinking in Midwifery – CACTiM). All three tools were found to be reliable and valid and are now freely available. The tools were designed to facilitate feedback to students from a variety of sources and promote objective evaluation as assessed by (1) preceptor, (2) student self-assessment, and (3) assessment of students’ reflective writing on midwifery practice by faculty.

The tools can be used to map critical thinking development across the course of the degree, providing targeted feedback to students, highlighting areas for further development.  Although the tools and model were originally designed for use within midwifery students they could also be used with midwives in practice, particularly with newly qualified midwives.

A number of national and international universities are interested in using the CACTiM tools in their undergraduate midwifery program and undertake collaborative research comparing critical thinking development between institutions. If you are interested in using any or all of the CACTiM tools and/ or participating in collaborative research, please contact Dr Amanda Carter. Dr Carter will provide a copy of the tools and guidelines for use.

Lead: Dr Amanda Carter

Dr Amanda Carter’s thesis >

Study 2 – Conceptual Model of Critical Thinking in Midwifery

This model presents a new understanding of critical thinking in midwifery practice. This staged conceptual model can embedded into midwifery curriculum and be used as a framework to teach and facilitate the development of critical thinking in midwifery. The model can also be used by students, newly qualified or experienced midwives to guide midwifery decision making.

Lead: Dr Amanda Carter


Study 3 – Development of a Consensus Definition of Critical Thinking in Midwifery: A Delphi Study

Midwives require well developed critical thinking skills to inform professional judgement that is evidence based, safe, woman-centred and individualised. Currently there is no discipline specific definition of critical thinking in midwifery practice. This study using a Delphi technique will develop an international consensus definition of critical thinking in midwifery. Midwives recognised as experts in midwifery education, practice, and research from diverse geographical, cultural, and practice areas will be invited to participate in this study.  If you would like volunteer to contribute to this Delphi study please contact Dr Amanda Carter.

Lead: Dr Amanda Carter

Dr Amanda Carter’s thesis >

Developing reflective capacity in midwifery students


Using Education Design Research (EDR) as the framework for this Doctoral study, this project aims to develop and evaluate educational tools and strategies to facilitate the development of reflective capacity in midwifery students.

The first phase of the project (development of a structured model of holistic reflection) (Bass et al, 2017) is complete.

The ongoing work will identify what resources are needed to use the model effectively and assess whether the model promotes reflective capacity in midwifery students and to what extent.

Co-Leads: Janice Bass (PhD candidate) with Associate Professor Mary Sidebotham and Professor Debra Creedy.
Collaborating partners: School of Nursing and Midwifery Flinders University

Optimising the clinical education experience


These projects involve designing and evaluating innovative approaches to clinical education for pre-registration midwifery programs.

Study 1 – Evaluation of clinical learning environment (MidSTEP)

It is known that the quality of clinical practice experience directly impacts student learning.

This study involves developing and evaluating a specific tool to measure the experience of midwifery students during their clinical education: the Midwifery Student Evaluation of Practice (MidSTEP) tool.

As second step, Trans-Tasman Midwifery Education Consortium partners are using the MidSTEP with students enrolled in their university’s midwifery program. This will provide an opportunity to benchmark across programs and countries (Australia and New Zealand). We expect MidSTEP to be a valuable tool for the international midwifery education community and will seek for it to be incorporated into the standards governing midwifery education programs.

Lead: Marnie Griffiths
Contact: Marnie Griffiths to discuss use of the MidStep tool

Collaborating partners: Flinders University, University of South Australia, Auckland University of Technology, University of Technology Sydney, University of Canberra.

Study 2 – Promoting the quality of clinical education by midwifery preceptor

Clinical learning environments are critical to the preparation of midwives for skill development, professional identity, and confidence as a midwife. Registered midwives, as preceptors, play a key role in clinical learning environments. Unlike clinical nursing, midwifery reflects a social model of healthcare, is holistic, and inclusive of women’s preferences and values.

This study aims to contribute to the optimisation of midwifery clinical education by:

  • developing and testing a measure of preceptors’ perceptions of quality midwifery clinical education
  • developing a novel preceptor program
  • evaluating the program’s impact using Kirkpatrick’s Levels of Learning

Co-leads: Marnie Griffiths (PhD student) with Professor Debra Creedy and Dr Amanda Carter

Study 3 – Hearing women’s voices: promoting active learning within the continuity of midwifery care experience

This project consists of three phases, including:

  1. Surveying women who have received continuity of midwifery care from a midwifery student in order to measure satisfaction with care provided
  2. Integrating women’s feedback into midwifery students’ clinical assessment
  3. Comparing aggregated clinical outcome data from the midwifery student’s clinical e-portfolios with national perinatal data.

Lead: Professor Jenny Gamble

Study 4 – Evaluation of midwifery caseload model for midwifery students

Griffith University recognises the value of continuity of care experiences and therefore requires midwifery students to undertake a minimum of 20 continuity of care experiences across their degree program.

In 2018, Midwifery@Griffith, in partnership with one of their primary practice partners, the Gold Coast University Hospital (GCUH), introduced an extended six-month caseload placement for interested 3rd Year midwifery students.

In 2019, we have built on this initiative and provided extended caseload placement for midwifery students at Gold Coast University Hospital, Logan Community Maternal and Child Health Hubs, Beaudesert Midwifery Group Practice, and Redland Midwifery Group Practice.

The aim of this study is to evaluate the outcomes of embedding students within the caseload practice where they work in a continuity of care model alongside a known midwife for six months. During this time the student will recruit 10 continuity of care experiences within the caseload.

Co-Leads: Associate Professors Kathleen Baird and Mary Sidebotham

Study 5 – The impact on learning of student-led caseload clinics

There is a growing body of evidence that women are demanding continuity of care. Research and evidence also validates that midwifery-led models of care improve outcomes for both the mother and the baby.

There is a strong consensus from both students and academics that providing a continuity of care model for women is a valuable learning opportunity and an essential component of midwifery education programs.

In recognition of this, a Griffith Midwifery Student Led Clinic (SLC) was developed and introduced by a collaboration of the School of Nursing & Midwifery, Griffith University and the Women, Newborn & Children’s Services at the Gold Coast University Hospital.

This study will explore, describe and evaluate effective learning processes in developing student midwives’ knowledge and skills when undertaking clinical practice within a Student Led Antenatal Clinic (SLC).

Publications: Hamilton, Baird, Fenwick. (2019). Nurturing autonomy in student midwives within a student led antenatal clinic. Women and Birth, in press.

Co-Leads: Valerie Hamilton (Masters research), Associate Professor Kathleen Baird and Adjunct Professor Jennifer Fenwick

Study 6 – Optimising the use of technology to support clinical learning

Within the Bachelor of Midwifery program at Griffith University we use an interactive e-portfolio (M@GIE) to support students clinical learning. M@GIE is highly accessible and integrated tool for measuring diverse aspects of student learning, progress and achievement. We are refining and enhancing the functionality of M@GIE and planning studies on impact and value as a learning tool. We would welcome partners for this ongoing work.

Lead: Marnie Griffiths

Study 7 – Enhancing students’ clinical learning in continuity of midwifery care models: Evaluating a quality improvement strategy

Women-centred continuity of midwifery care (CMC) is essential to safe and quality maternity care. However, midwifery students do not currently integrate women’s feedback or clinical outcomes into their clinical assessment. This program of work will place the women receiving CMC from a midwifery student in the clinical learning and assessment cycle. The strong emphasis on CMC and woman-centred care prepares midwifery graduates to work to their full scope of practice, and be critically reflective practitioners. Expanding the functionality of the student e-portfolio to capture women’s feedback and enable easy analysis of clinical data prepares midwifery graduates for registration and gather data as part of their ongoing endorsement. This program will also benefit future Bachelor of Midwifery (BMid) students by providing ongoing improvements to the clinical ePortfolio used within the BMid program as well as more robust and meaningful improvements to clinical assessment. Women will benefit from a workforce of graduate midwives who not only seek women’s ongoing feedback but know how to respond to feedback and change practice accordingly.

Publications: Tickle, N., Sidebotham, M., Fenwick, J. & Gamble, J. (2016). Women’s experiences of having a Bachelor of Midwifery student provide continuity of care. Women and Birth, 29 (3), pp. 245-251.

Co-leads: Nikki Tickle, Professor Jenny Gamble, Professor Debra Creedy

Evaluating the willingness of new midwives to work in continuity of care models


Study 1 – How motivated, capable and willing are entry to practice midwives in Australia to work in continuity of midwifery care models?

The Australian national midwifery education standards provide a framework to ensure entry to practice programs prepare graduates for contemporary midwifery practice.

The evidence to support the wide-scale implementation of midwifery continuity of care models is irrefutable and therefore, a goal for entry-to-practice programs should be to prepare graduates for this model.

This program of work surveys midwives exiting entry to practice programs to understand their motivation, willingness and level or preparedness to work in continuity of midwifery care models on graduation.

This project is also relevant to the Practice Translation and Workforce Programs.

Lead: Professor Mary Sidebotham

Sustaining the vision – Alumna


Griffith University adopts a Social Emancipatory Transformative Educational Framework for the design of all Midwifery and Primary Maternity Care programs.

Educational strategies are informed by defined values, a woman-centred philosophy and a clear vision. Our overarching goal is to effectively prepare the graduate to contribute to the transformation of maternity services.

This study will provide a framework to test the effectiveness of this transformative educational approach by identifying to what extent graduates are influencing and contributing to the provision of continuity of midwifery care.

Co-Leads: Professors Jenny Gamble and Debra Creedy and Mae’t Pearson (PhD student)

Practice Translation Workforce Education Health Promotion