Midwifery education in the Netherlands, meeting the requirements of a changing world
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Research Centre for Midwifery Science, University of Applied Science, Maastricht, the Netherlands
Care and Public Health Research Institute, University Maastricht, Maastricht, the Netherlands
Radboud University Medical Center, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Nijmegen, the Netherlands
Publication date: 2023-10-24
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Marianne Nieuwenhuijze   

Research Centre for Midwifery Science, University of Applied Science, Maastricht, the Netherlands
Eur J Midwifery 2023;7(Supplement 1):A218
In the Netherlands, three Universities of Applied Science offer midwifery education program in four places: Amsterdam, Groningen, Maastricht and Rotterdam. It is a 4-year direct entry program resulting in a Bachelor of Science degree. On graduation, students are fully qualified for midwifery practice and are registered as midwives in the national registration for health professionals (BIG-registration: A total of 250 students (regulated in a national numerus fixus) are admitted annually after a selection procedure. A Master of Science program in midwifery has started in 2023 as a joint degree offered together by the three Universities of Applied Science. It allows midwives to advance their competences in midwifery, leadership, innovation and research. Midwives also have access to a Physician Assistant Master program, specialising in hospital-based maternity care. PhD possibilities are available for midwives through two professors of midwifery at research universities (or professors in other university health departments). The bachelor program meets the EU-directives. Additionally, it has to meet Dutch legal education requirements for midwives ( These requirements prescribe theoretical topics that need to be taught in the midwifery program, and the content and duration of the practical training, including the number of actions (e.g. birth). The practical training needs to meet 100 ECTS spend in primary (60 ECTS) and secondary care (40 ECTS). Finding sufficient clinical placements, especially in secondary care, is a challenge. The ICM professional framework is covered by the program, including the underlying requirements. Formative and summative assessments are part of the program. The final examination of the bachelor midwifery program is a summative portfolio assessment, where students show their competences as a midwife through successfully completing 1. their last clinical placement (in primary care), 2. the final competence test, 3. simulations of emergencies skills, 4. the bachelor thesis.
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