A final year midwifery student - Elena Baxter - recently undertook an observational placement in a private maternity hospital in Melbourne, Australia. The objectives for the visit were to observe midwifery practice in Australia and compare this with that in the United Kingdom, to share knowledge and practice with midwives in Australia and interact with women and families from a different culture.
According to the student, a notable difference in practice was the high medicalisation and intervention rate within the delivery unit, including a high rate of caesarean sections and the high percentage of mothers who were breast feeding. . The student commented that they felt an increase in confidence in their own knowledge and practice following the visit, they felt very welcomed by the team and that they helped her to utilise every available opportunity to increase her learning opportunities, the midwives in Australia were very interested to learn about midwifery practice in the United Kingdom and she recommends this experience to others.