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MCH qualifications protected in law

MCH qualifications protected in law

Maternal and child health nurse Marjolijn with mum Lenka and baby Ruby

Andrews Government’s legislation protecting the requirement for Victorian maternal and child health nurses to hold qualifications in nursing, midwifery, and child and family health has passed Parliament.

The Safe Patient Care Amendment Bill 2020 passed the Upper House of the Victorian Parliament on 10 November. The bill contains 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 health (MCH) nurses to be a registered nurse, registered midwife and have a postgraduate diploma in child and family health. The breadth of the service provided by our maternal and child health nurses is also unique.

The legislation is the result of decades of advocacy by the Victorian Branch of ANMF together with the ANMF special interest group, the Victorian Association of Maternal and Child Health Nurses.

ANMF also commends former Health Minister Jenny Mikakos for her support in protecting the educational preparation that underpins the high quality of Victoria’s maternal and child health nursing.

Holding qualifications in nursing, midwifery and child and family health ensures MCH nurses have a rich understanding of mothers’ 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 as part of their role 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. Many also work in the enhanced program supporting Victorian at risk families with special needs