Meet ACM member: Vanessa Scarf

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The Education Unit has the honour of introducing you to Australian College of Midwives (ACM) fabulous members who dedicate their spare time to working with and for the ACM. These hard-working, passionate and dedicated individuals are the backbone of ACM, and we are incredibly grateful for their continued support and service. 

In July 2018, we would like you to meet Vanessa Scarf, midwife, mother and midwifery lecturer (at UTS),  recently appointed to the (ACM) NSW Branch Council as a Supporting Member, Chair of the (ACM) NSW Professional Development Committee (bringing CPD opportunities to midwives around NSW), who in her spare time enjoys yoga, a spot of knitting and cooking and most especially relaxing. 


When did you become a Registered midwife?

I became a midwife in 1995 having completed a Graduate Diploma in Midwifery from Sydney Uni.

Why did you become/why are you a midwife?

I think I always wanted to be a midwife. However, it wasn’t until I practiced for some years that I realised what an important and political profession it was!

One of the biggest moments for me was when I realised that, because I really loved babies (yes, I said it) the best thing for them is to be with their mothers, and supporting women to become a mother is how this is best achieved.

I also see with emerging clarity how challenging it is for women to be the best mother they can be through the way our health system is structured. This issue is magnified one thousand fold when we look to countries who barely have midwives and women risk their lives to give birth. As a midwife, I hope to make some contribution to improving the situation for women here and, fingers crossed, overseas.

I am now very privileged to be working at UTS in the Midwifery teaching team, when I’m not doing the research projects. 

Have you undertaken any additional study since you Registered – related to midwifery?

I am very fortunate to be undertaking a PhD in Midwifery, looking at the cost of place of birth (home, birth centre, hospital) in New South Wales as part of a bigger study into place of birth in Australia. 

What would you like to see change in midwifery in Australia?

We are so fortunate in Australia to have such good outcomes for women and babies. There are some things, however, that we could improve on:

  • less unnecessary intervention;
  • more choice of birth setting with support from the “system”;
  • I would like to see all women having access to a midwife regardless of their “risk status”. All women need a midwife, and some need a doctor too – to quote Professor Jane Sandall!
  • also, midwives having visiting rights to all hospitals would be the most exciting thing to see! 

ACM membership

How long have you been a member?

I have been a member of the ACM for around 10 years, I’m a bit of a late bloomer!

Why did you join ACM?

I joined the ACM because I wanted to engage with my professional organisation.

Want to breathe some life back into your enthusiasm for midwifery?  Get involved with the College or go to an ACM conference!! 

Why do you stay as a member of ACM?

I stay in the College because I want to be involved in moving our profession forward, advocating for women and midwives and expanding care options! 

What is the most important aspect of your membership?

Being involved! (Mucking in!) 

What roles do you undertake for the ACM?

I have recently been appointed to the NSW Branch Council (very exciting!) as a supporting member. Within this role, I have taken on the professional development portfolio which organises PD activities for midwives round the state. 


Tell us a little about your non work life….

I have three children, 1 boy (man) and 2 young women. The older 2 are at university and the youngest one is still at school. I do look forward to travelling more (with my husband, no kids…).

What do you do to relax?

Walking and yoga are my fitness pursuits. My go to relaxation activity would have to be a nap on a weekend afternoon (would nap during the week but it’s not a good look at work..), followed by a bit of telly or a movie and a glass of wine! I also knit and love cooking anything, especially if I didn’t have to make the decision on what it is! 

If you would like to learn more about engaging with the ACM and your wider midwifery community we have lots of avenues for you to explore.  You are the author of your journey with us, but we'd love for you to try out what we have on offer...

Get connected

  • Make sure that you are a MEMBER of the ACM.  You can JOIN HERE
  • Check that your member details are up to date (login to your portal and check you address, contact and payment details are current)
  • Watch a webinar (search our events) or access a webinar recording (more details here). Remember they are all free to ACM members every day, all year round!
  • Enrol in and complete an ACM online learning course.  We have a numnber of free to access or fee based courses for you to choose from.
  • Read your Australian Midwifery News Magazine.  This dedicated publication comes out as a hard copy to you 4 times a year - if you are not getting yours, go back to your member portal and check we have the correct details for you.
  • Access articles from the Women and Birth journal.  You can access this for free with your membership, there are 6 issues per year with over 15 articles per issue... thats a lot of learning right there at your fingertips.  More details here.
  • Open and engage with the content covered in the email newsletters and the branch matters that we send.
  • Like and Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
  • Use the ACM Position Statements, Guidelines and Policies to guide your practice.


 Get active

  • Tell your midwifery colleagues about ACM membership and encourage them to join.  The more midwifery voices we have with us, the stronger we are as an organisation, which means the more we are heard when we represent midwives around Australia.
  • Talk about the webinars your watch or online courses that you undertake.  Provide us feedback or ideas for new topics that are of interest to you.
  • Think of writing for the Australian Midwifery News - about a topic that interests you or work you are doing.  Share achievements and learnings with your peers so they can celebrate with you, or learn from the information you share.
  • Share social media posts to your friend groups, engage in online conversation threads.
  • Engage in a consultation when ACM sends out details asking for your opinion.  What you think and know matters - to truly represent you we need to know your thoughts!
  • Come to your local State or the National Conference (this year we are in Perth 15-18 October).  Attend a workshop or a networking event.  You can find out all about what ACM has going on in our events pages.
  • Apply for a scholarship.
  • Attend other CPD opportunities offered by education provdiers.  You can see all that are ACM CPD Recognised here.
  • Dedicate time to complete your Midwifery Practice Review.
  • Determine if your health facility is BFHI accredited... If not consider working with them to change that status.
  • Nominate a midwife or service for an ACM Annual Award


Be engaged

  • Work with your local Branch.  Become a member, share content for the Branch matters, represent midwives in your State/local area.
  • Join an ACM Committee - we have LOTS of committees covering (but not limited to) Education, Professional Development, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander, Rural & Remote, Private Midwives, Consumers, Midwery Practice Review, BFHI, AMN Editorial... When spaces for new members come up we put out an Expression of Interest (EOI) in our newsletters and on social media.  Come and share your passion, skills and knowledge for the advancement of midwives all around Australia (and work with some pretty amazing Midwives achieving great things).
  • Be an ACM Representative such as at meetings, on external committees, during consultations or as expert midwives.  Like for the Committees we will post an EOI looking for interested and suitable midwives.  The opportunities differ each year and each comes with its own personal and professional benefits for the members who get involved.
  • Join our ACM Liaison Midwife network.  Initiated in 2017 these midwives are helping to spread the word about ACM and what we ahve to offer midwives from all areas of practice.  You can see the list of LM's and read all about their role here.
  • Join the ACM Webinar Presenter community.  We are always looking for new, engaging presenters who address midwifery specific content.  Email us at if you are interested, or know of someone we should reach out to.
  • Join a Working Group or Review Team for assessment of ACM resources (such as e-learning course development or review, webinar audits, writing quix questions).  Opportunities come out at least a few times per year as new content is developed or existing is reviewed.  Your input is invaluable in providing excellent user experience for the finished product - plus it gets you access to midwifery content and some fabulous CPD opportunities.
  • Present at a conference - the call for abstracts for the 2018 conferences are all currently closed... but 2019 will start soon... what are you waiting for?
  • Undertake the ultimate role of representing midwives - join the ACM Board or Council.  Calls for nomination to ACM Board will come at this AGM for 2 x Midwife Directors.  Get your nomination ready.
  • Come and work with us - we are currently looking for someone to join the Policy & Professional Practice Unit

As you can see there are an abundance of opportunities available to you ... now is the time to pick those that appeal to you ... we hope to see you engaged with us soon!