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NU7204 Leadership and Quality Improvement in Healthcare (10 ECTS)

Learning Outcomes

Following completion of this module the student should be able to:

  • Critically examine the role and function of the midwife and the profession of midwifery from a historical and socio-political context;
  • Critically analyse the historical and socio-political development of maternity services in Ireland;
  • Compare and contrast the culture and context of midwifery developments in Ireland with midwifery and maternity care internationally;
  • Discuss the influence of feminism and the women’s movement internationally and in Ireland on midwifery and maternity care

Module Learning Aims & Rationale

Midwives who undertake the MSc in Midwifery are the potential future leaders of the midwifery profession in Ireland. There is an urgent need for midwives to understand and critique the evolution of maternity services and the midwifery profession in Ireland so that they can participate in and lead the development of services in partnership with women. The aim of this module is to provide a challenging opportunity for midwives to explore and understand the historical and socio-political context of midwifery and maternity service provision in Ireland.

Recommended Reading List

Indicative Resources

  • Barrington R. (1987) Health, Medicine and Politics in Ireland 1900 - 1970. IPA, Dublin.
  • Comhairle na nOspidéal (1976) Development of Hospital Maternity Services - A discussion Document. Comhairle na nOspidéal, Dublin.
  • Department of Health (1984) Health Care for Mothers and Infants. A review of the Maternity and Infant Care Scheme. Stationary Office, Dublin.
  • Department of Health (1997) A Report of the Maternity and Infant Care Scheme Review Group [chairman: Peter McQuillan]. Stationary Office, Dublin.
  • Eastern Health Board (1983) Domiciliary Birth: A Review by Community Physicians. Eastern Health Board, Dublin.
  • Ferriter D. (2004) The Transformation of Ireland, 1900-2000. Profile Books, London.
  • Higgins M. (2007) Midwifery Irish style: government policy and its effects on midwifery practice. In Midwifery: Freedom to Practise? An International Exploration of Midwifery Practice. (Reid L., ed), Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, Edinburgh.
  • Inglis T. (1998) Moral Monopoly: The Rise and Fall of the Catholic Church in Ireland. UCD Press, Dublin.
  • Kennedy F. (2001) Cottage to Crèche: Family Change in Ireland. Institute of Public Administration, Dublin.
  • Kennedy P. (2002) Maternity in Ireland: A Woman-Centred Perspective. Liffey Press, Dublin.
  • Kennedy P. & Murphy-Lawless J., (eds.) (1998) Returning Birth to Women: Challenging Policies and Practices. Centre for Women’s Studies, Trinity College Dublin and Women’s Education, Research and Resource Centre, University College Dublin.
  • O’Driscoll K., Meagher D. & Robson M. (2004) Active management of Labour: The Dublin Experience, 4th edn. Mosby, Edinburgh.
  • Ryan S. (1997) Interventions in childbirth: the midwives’ role. In Women and Irish Society: A Sociological Reader. (Byrne A. & Leonard M., eds), Beyond the Pale Publications, Belfast.
  • Tew M. (1998) Safer Childbirth? A Critical History of Maternity Care. Free Association Books, London.
  • Wren M. A. (2003) Unhealthy State: Anatomy of a Sick Society. New Island, Dublin.


  • Acts of the Oireachtais
  • Lenus: Irish Health Repository

*Other readings will be provided by individual lecturers.