Background: In 2010, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia introduced a new registration standard: Endorsement for scheduled medicines for midwives. The endorsement enables midwives to provide women with Medicare-rebatable care, prescribe relevant medications, and order relevant Medicare-rebatable diagnostics. Translating endorsement education into clinical midwifery practice has been slow, indicating the presence of barriers affecting midwives’ ability to use this standard, despite it increasing their scope for service provision. Aim: To discover the mechanisms affecting midwives’ ability to work to full scope of practice after completing a programme of study leading to endorsement. Methods: An observational (non-experimental) design was used. Midwives who had completed an education programme leading to endorsement were invited to complete a survey. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse the quantitative questions and content analysis was conducted on the qualitative data. Findings: Results indicated that barriers – such as the limitations of Medicare provisions for endorsed midwives and a general lack of support for the role – restrict endorsed midwives’ ability to provide quality maternity services. Having some form of support for the role may act as an enabler, in addition to midwives having personal determination and confidence in their ability to use the endorsement. Recommendations to strengthen the endorsed midwife's role include facilitating endorsement use in the public sector, relaxing Medicare Benefit Schedule and Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme restrictions, raising awareness of the role and scope, and improving midwives’ pre-endorsement preparation. Conclusion: This study highlights the need for an all-of-system approach to support and develop the endorsed midwife's role.
- Diagnostic test ordering