Last week we looked at the International Confederation of Midwives Core Competencies for Midwives and the Educational Standards as documents to help you evaluate your midwifery training options. Today we will look at the ICM Core Documents on Midwifery Regulation as the final triad to helping us understand the unique challenges of midwifery in your corner of the world.
What does an international document about best practices in midwifery regulation have to do with your midwifery education? More than you might initially think.
The midwifery regulations in your area will determine if and how you can practice. Obtaining the best midwifery education possible will not matter if your local midwifery regulations will prohibit you from providing midwifery care with that training.
The ICM Core Document on Midwifery Regulation gives you the tools you need to evaluate the laws that will govern you as a midwife. Your laws do not need to be perfect for you to provide good midwifery care, but they need to at least offer you the basic right to provide care. The core document gives you key items to look for, and an explanation of why that is important to autonomous midwifery practice.
I have sometimes been told that it doesn’t matter what the regulations are in an area because midwives are going to practice regardless. That may be true in general, but if you are in the first steps of identifying your training program, understanding the regulations gives you a few advantages.
1.You may choose to relocate to an area with better midwifery regulations before beginning practice. If you are able to do this before beginning training it may open additional opportunities.
2. You may find delaying your midwifery education allows you to meet other goals and participate in advocacy activities to ensure good regulation before you begin practice.
3. You may find particular training opportunities better fit the regulation requirements. Beginning training with these programs can ultimately save you time and money.
4. You may find midwifery is burdened with such poor regulation that your calling to serve women becomes a clear call to work within the political system to improve access to care.
So my advice is to take the time to look at the regulations that will govern you before you make a final decision about which training program is the right fit for your goals. What do you think, should you consider regulation requirements when selecting a midwifery training program?