Purpose and Mission
Maternal and child health nurses are typically employed by local governments, and work in parenting and community health centres. These highly trained healthcare professionals provide individual care and monitoring for moms and babies, as well as manage a variety of educational programs to help parents to develop supportive social networks.
By definition, maternal and child health nurses support the health and development of children from birth until school age, and are work both independently and together with paediatricians and other members of the healthcare team.
Maternal and child health nurses are typically employed at community clinics or health centres, and are often paid by state or local government agencies. Many of these healthcare professionals work quite independently, sometimes at remote locations, and may report to a nursing supervisor or a regional head of medical services.
While senior maternal and child health nurses may have supervisory responsibilities in a local clinic (such as training and evaluating other nurses and healthcare professionals), most operate relatively independently and remain largely focused on patient care.
Maternal and child health nurses are registered nurses (with at least a bachelor’s degree) and some have taken graduate coursework to become nurse practitioners. Most are also registered midwives, and many employers prefer candidates who have earned a postgraduate Diploma in Community Child Health.
Note that all RNs and midwives must have a current Nursing Registration with the AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioners Agency) to practice directly with patients.
Responsibilities of a Maternal and Child Health Nurse
The primary responsibilities of a maternal and child health nurse vary by position, but typically include monitoring the health of infants and young children, and supporting maternal health and wellbeing.
Key responsibilities of an MCH nurse include: