In the school of midwifery at Otago Polytechnic we are heading into a new world of midwifery education. We have a shortage of midwives in the workforce and this is set to worsen as many of our workforce head towards retirement. Currently our midwifery students are required to leave their homes and come to one of the main centres to complete their midwifery education. Families have to be uprooted and leave home. Women have expressed interest in a program of study which allows them to remain in their own area for the bulk of the course. This has required a major reconsideration of how we could accommodate these needs and provide a course that is accessible to more women. There have also been some changes to midwifery education requirements by the Midwifery Council of New Zealand which need to be accommodated into our three year degree program. Over the last two or three years we have been getting to grips with this and have entered into a partnership with the Christchurch School of Midwifery. From next year we will have one South Island School of Midwifery operating out of the two centres. We have a new curriculum which has been developed over the last year, is nearing completion and is in the approval processes.
The new program is to begin next year with the first year being offered in a flexible mode with distance and some face to face. I teach the first year clinical skills course and my job is to now identify how the course that we teach can be delivered flexibly in a mix of distance and face to face study next year. I am to do this while also continuing to teach in the current program and meet my other responsibilities within the school of midwifery. I am feeling that I need to develop some supernatural powers in order to achieve this. I am hoping that others in this course may be able to help me and offer support, encouragement and perhaps suggestions as I travel along this path. I am excited as I do believe that the new program is an exciting innovation. I am anxious about the time it will take and all the other commitments I have.