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Q. What are the entry requirements for the midwifery programme?
A. See the tag ‘How to become a student’ to the left of this page.
Q. Can I study from the North Island?
A. Yes. Otago Polytechnic delivers the programme in the lower North Island in satellites in Whanganui, Palmerston North and Wellington.
Q. Can I study from elsewhere in the South Island (other than Christchurch and Dunedin)?
A. Yes. Since 2009 a ‘blended learning’ undergraduate programme has been offered collaboratively by Christchurch (CPIT) and Otago (OP) Polytechnics. This programme provides satellite groups in Central Otago, Southland, Oamaru, Timaru, West Coast and Nelson/Marlborough, in addition to those in Christchurch and Dunedin. Students in these satellites will still be required to travel to the main centres for intensive study weeks and for some midwifery practice placements.
Q. Can I get credit for other courses or qualifications which I have completed?
A. It is possible to gain recognition of prior learning (RPL). It is assessed on a case-by-case basis. Courses you have completed - for example, another health related degree - need to meet the specific Learning Outcomes of the course being considered for credit. If you apply for more than 72 credits (15% of total programme) the Midwifery School must submit this to the Midwifery Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) for approval.
Q. Can I get credit for other work experiences?
A. It is possible to gain recognition or credit for certain relevant work experiences. It is assessed on a case-by-case basis. Relevant experiences need to meet the specific Learning Outcomes of the module being considered for credit. This is most likely to apply to an applicant who has previously worked as a health professional.
Q. Can I work part-time while doing the undergraduate programme?
A. The programme is a full-time course and it is expected that you commit to 40 hours study per week for 45 weeks per year. However, it may be possible in the first year, as there is flexibility around when and where you study. You will be on-call to attend births at times during each year, and this increases to be full-time for much of year three. It is important that you prioritise meeting your ‘follow through’ and other practice obligations as well as compulsory intensives and tutorials. Some students manage part-time work, but others find it significantly compromises their study.
Q. What are the attendance requirements of the programme?
A. The ‘blended delivery’ programme has much greater flexibility than the previous classroom based delivery, with much of the theory now delivered online, enabling you to choose when and where you do that part of the course. However, it is a full time course requiring 40 hours commitment each week. In the first year there are four compulsory two week long blocks; three ‘intensives’ and one two week exam and integration block. These blocks require you to attend classes at the main campus of the Polytechnic through which you are enrolled (Dunedin or Christchurch, or Paraparaumu for North Island students).There are also weekly requirements for you to meet with your Student Practice Facilitator (SPF) and participate in group online tutorials with other students and Polytechnic staff. The year plan, intensive timetables, course outlines and assessment dates are available at the beginning of each year.
Q. What is a ‘blended delivery’ programme?
A. It involves a variety of teaching and learning methods which include:
- face-to-face classroom based (four two-week long intensive blocks in years one and two; two in year three)
- midwifery practice and hands-on experience (increasing as you progress through the course)
- online course content you will need to complete each week
- small group face to face tutorials (within your satellite region most weeks)
- online tutorials (most weeks)
- one-to-one (with individual students/teachers/midwives).
Q. Can I take a year off, or go part-time, once enrolled?
A. The programme is designed for completion within three years (full-time study, 45 weeks per year), and this is optimal and provides a cohesive course of study. It is possible to spread it over four years, if you take one year off or complete one year’s study over two years, although restrictions and requirements apply. If you are considering a four-year timeframe, it is preferable to undertake year one over two years, and complete years two and three full time, in order to maximise midwifery practice opportunities and consolidate learning. In genuinely extenuating circumstances, students may apply to the Midwifery Council (MCNZ) for approval to take a longer timeframe. Any request to take longer than five years to complete the course is very unlikely to be approved by MCNZ.
Q. How do I gain registration as a midwife?
A. The Midwifery Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) is the regulatory authority for midwives in New Zealand. In order to gain registration you must successfully complete an approved midwifery education programme such as the Bachelor of Midwifery programme offered by Otago Polytechnic and CPIT. Within this programme you must:
- meet the required minimum hours of midwifery practice (2400), including 1280 hours in year three, and the required minimum hours of theory (1920)
- demonstrate competency in specific skills, including completing 100 each of antenatal assessments, postnatal maternal assessments and postnatal baby assessments
- complete a minimum of 25 follow through experiences, and
- facilitate a minimum of 40 births, of which no more than 10 can be assisted births such as instrumental births or caesarean sections.
On successful completion of the programme you will be eligible to sit the MCNZ National Midwifery Examination. This is a three-hour multi-choice examination and you must pass with at least 70%, including at least 70% in the sub-set of identified ‘safety’ questions.
In assessing your application for registration the MCNZ will also require referee reports, a medical report and a Police check. If English is not your first language, you will also need to meet the IELTS level 7.5 overall. Please refer to the MCNZ Council website for more information, by clicking on this link: www.midwiferycouncil.org.nz
Q. What are my future work prospects, and where can I work?
A. Once you have Midwifery Registration you are able to work anywhere in New Zealand, across the full scope of midwifery practice. You may work as a Lead Maternity Carer, or may be based in a maternity facility as a Core midwife. You may also choose ongoing study, research, professional or management options. Completing study in the OP/CPIT Bachelor of Midwifery programme will enable you to submit an application to work elsewhere in the world, such as the European Union. Each regulatory authority has its own registration requirements, so there are no guarantees, and registration is assessed on an individual basis. However, the OP/CPIT midwifery programme meets the same standards as the EU midwifery education standards and this will improve your chances of gaining registration in the UK or wider EU countries.