The Andrews Government has introduced legislation into Parliament which will protect the requirement for Victorian maternal and child health nurses to hold qualifications in nursing, midwifery, and child and family health.
The Andrews Government introduced the Safe Patient Care Amendment Bill 2020 to the Victorian Parliament on 2 June, containing an amendment to the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005 which requires Victorian maternal and child health nurses to hold three qualifications.
Victoria is unique in Australia in requiring maternal and child nurses to be a registered nurse, registered midwife and have a postgraduate diploma in child and family health.
ANMF (Vic Branch) Secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick applauded the government’s move to protect the robust qualification requirements.
‘This is the result of decades of consistent advocacy by the Victorian Branch of ANMF and the ANMF special interest group, the Victorian Association of Maternal and Child Health Nurses,’ Ms Fitzpatrick said.
‘ANMF commends Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos for acting to protect the educational preparation underpinning the high quality of maternal and child health nursing in this state,’ Ms Fitzpatrick said. ‘Protecting the three qualifications is key to maintaining the high standard Victorians expect, require and receive from their maternal and child health nursing service.’
Holding qualifications in nursing, midwifery and child and family health ensures MCH nurses have a rich understanding of the post-natal experience and risk factors for child health, wellbeing and development. MCH nurses know how to intervene early when families are experiencing vulnerability and how to engage with the multiple services of support for these families.
Maternal and child health nurses perform 10 key ages and stages assessments including an initial home visit after a baby is born and consultations at two, four and eight weeks; four, eight, 12 and 18 months; and two and 3.5 years of age.
Much of the MCH Service is delivered in the community requiring MCH nurses to practice independently and to develop extensive community networks to support mothers and families. The postgraduate qualification in child and family health prepares them for providing care for mothers and children within a broader community context, including screening for family violence risk and risks to mothers’ physical and mental health.
The Victorian Maternal and Child Health Service celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2017. View our digital exhibition about 100 years of maternal and child health nursing in Victoria.