Berlin (dpa) – Fearing a split within the profession, the German Association of Midwives is calling for the previous training to be equated with the new bachelor’s degree.
“The title should not be condemned just like that. But the bachelor’s degree should be easier for midwives trained according to the old law, ”said Ulrike Geppert-Orthofer, president of the German Midwifery Association, on the occasion of World Midwifery Day on 5 May.
The association fears an endangered two-class society among the midwives and disadvantages for colleagues with an education according to the old law. “What we wanted to avoid is already happening: clinics offer midwives with a bachelor’s degree more money, although the activities do not differ,” says the chairman.
Due to the lack of midwives, some pay more for some than others. “Every graduate is fiercely courted. Money naturally plays a role ”, says Geppert-Orthofer. “We are far too small a professional group to be split up now. We will fight against that, ”she announces.
As of January 1, 2020, future midwives must obtain a bachelor’s degree. To ensure that there is no short-term bottleneck in midwifery training, a transitional arrangement for training in midwifery schools has been established: training in schools can start until the end of 2022 and must be completed by December 31, 2027. “But we don’t want midwives who start training now to fill gaps to have disadvantages later,” said the chairman.
Any midwife who has completed an internship and has professional experience can therefore obtain a diploma and have the training partially recognized. “But there are not enough offers for that yet,” she criticizes. Moreover, in Germany too little is recognized in terms of education and professional experience, which makes studying too time-consuming. Much of the content of the training would be repeated. “If midwives have to learn a lot during their studies that they have been practicing for years, that is not very motivating,” says Geppert-Orthofer.
“Austria and Switzerland show how it could work,” said the association’s president. In Switzerland, the salary of all midwives was first upgraded to the bachelor’s degree. “Then they had five years to later acquire a title through further training,” says Geppert-Orthofer. In Austria, the path to a master’s degree is even easier. “There, the training was put on an equal footing with the bachelor’s degree”. In Germany, changes in this area would be a matter for the Länder. The Federal Ministry of Health has already made it clear that the problem can only be solved at the state level.
According to the Association of Midwives, so far almost only midwives have been trained under the old law, as there were only a few model courses before the course started in 2020. According to a survey, up to 50 percent of midwives who are members of the association interested in qualification for the undergraduate degree.
For others, their education is in turn sufficient: Grusche Nothdurft from Berlin, for example, is happy with the upgrading of the profession, but no longer wants to go to school. “I followed a very good education in Speyer in 2003 and I know what I can do,” emphasizes the independent midwife and mother of three children. Midwife Katrin Spanowski is also not afraid of the future. “There will always be a lot of demand for midwives. We are far too few, ”said the board member of the Berlin Midwives Association. Like her colleague Nothdurft, she is positive about the academisation of the profession.
In Germany it is difficult for many expectant mothers to get a midwife. Midwives are not only scarce in delivery rooms; freelance midwives who provide preventive care and childcare are often difficult to find. “In general, the supply situation here is not good. In Germany we have about 24,000 midwives with about 780,000 births per year. In Great Britain there are 51,000 midwives with about 710,000 births per year, ”says Geppert-Orthofer.