Welcome from our President: Caroline Homer

Caroline Homer, President

The Australian College of Midwives is for all midwives in Australia – those in private and public hospitals, providing private and public services in hospitals, community settings and at home, those working in education, policy, management, research and development roles, and our midwifery students who are our future. We partner with our consumer members to ensure that women remain at the centre of midwifery care.

I strongly believe that the College – the professional body for midwives in Australia - is an essential element of improving the outcomes for women and babies. Midwives are key to ensuring safe, quality maternity care, in this country and around the world. I won’t go into all the evidence – there is plenty of it to support the work of midwives, especially the value of midwifery continuity of care. However, midwives need to be supported in an enabled environment to provide the best care to women and babies. This includes ensuring they have the best educational preparation to become midwives, are registered and regulated appropriately, have access to continuous professional development and career opportunities, feel professionally strong and resilient and able to advocate for women and for one another. It also includes ensuring midwives feel connected to other midwives across the country, and that the role of midwife is firmly recognised in government policy and the health system at every level and in every corner.

Our role here at the College is to advocate for and work towards making this enabled environment a reality for every midwife, every day, in every part of the country.

We facilitate midwives to support each other, feel engaged and be connected with our midwifery sisters and brothers across the country in times of stress and in times of celebration, to be a strong midwifery family.

As your President, I am committed to working with members, listening to the issues that are important to them, and developing strategies to address them. I would like to see the College be an organisation that every midwife in this country wants to be an active part of.

I am committed to encouraging our midwifery students around the country to become members, and to make sure that they are supported and nurtured to be the best midwife they can be. Our students are our future and I would like their advice and guidance as we move forward.

As your President, I can only be as good or as effective as the strength and commitment of the membership, the Council and the Board. One person will not solve all the challenges in Australian midwifery but I hope I can inspire and motivate the collective of midwives to walk this journey together and share in multiple achievements that are possible as we go forward.

Our strategic direction

ACM Board voting

In 2015, we launched our new Strategic Plan and our outward-looking vision - Enabling women to be strong and confident mothers. With this Strategic Plan, we have also articulated for the first time our vision for our society; our mission - Midwifery is positioned as the primary profession for quality maternity care. It is now well known that, in every country, midwives are key to the provision of quality maternity care, and our mission is to contribute to having educated, regulated and professionally supported and enabled midwives.

The main themes of our Strategic Plan are to advocate for the visibility of midwives, the positioning of midwifery, and the development of partnership and alliances. Importantly, in the area of reform, we will continue to support the implementation of midwifery continuity of care across the country, ensuring every women has one-to-one care in labour and advocating for Birthing on Country programs. Our Strategic Plan brings us back to being forward thinking and outward facing.

How do we advocate for midwives?

•    are members of the midwifery education accreditation committees
•    are members of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council
•    engage with and influence the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (our regulators)
•    provide conferences, seminars, webinars and workshops for midwives
•    are represented on every committee or body that decides about maternity care and the work of midwives
•    lobby government ministers, advisors and policy makers about midwifery at every opportunity and in every forum

To truly make a difference, we need all midwives to join, engage, set the direction and contribute in a positive way.

What can you do to get involved?

There are a lot of ways that you can get involved and be part of the College midwifery family. We can only achieve our goals if we work together. We hope you will engage in our work through being part of our Advisory Committees or consider being part of the Council or running for the Board. We hope you will engage in the continuing professional development opportunities that we offer, be inspired by our conferences and seminars, connect with your peers through our networking activities, respond to consultations and initiatives that we promote, and join committees that work with other stakeholder groups (eg RANZCOG, ANMF, RCN).

Also vital is the work you can do at a local level to make sure that the unique role of the midwife is understood and respected in industrial and professional contexts and that the voices of midwives are heard.

Please walk with us on this journey and encourage your colleagues to join us as well.

Caroline Homer