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Nurse Practitioner: Training to Become a Midwife

Each individual’s path to become a midwife can vary depending on the professional background and the candidate’s experience in the health care field. The American College of Nurse Midwives has recommended that each interested candidate seek campus-based nurse midwife programs or online nurse midwife programs to pursue a graduate degree. A Certified Nurse Midwife begins as a Registered Nurse before pursuing midwife programs, or becomes a Registered Nurse as part of their midwife programs requirements. The midwifery training program can be lengthy, but the intensity is necessary to ensure the safety of pregnant women and their children.

Program Requirements and Information

There are several prerequisites for becoming a midwife, although all nurse midwife programs specific requirements may vary. In most cases, a bachelor’s degree is required. A nurse midwife is typically required to have a minimum of 1 to 2 years of nursing experience, as well as a license to practice as a registered nurse. Many U.S. states require a midwife candidate to become certified. According to the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), a candidate must graduate from an ACNM-accredited program. This is usually a campus-based program, but may also come from various online nurse midwife programs. If interested in pursuing a degree online, ensure that the online nurse midwife programs you are looking into are accredited by the ACNM. Thereafter, they are able to take the national certification exam which is given 4 times per year.

Course/Curriculum Overview

Curriculum of nurse midwife programs varies by institution, but most begin with an introductory course to the field. This introductory course covers the basics of midwifery, including professional responsibilities and roles, health literacy, legal issues, and an overview of the midwife’s role during pregnancy and childbirth. During study, students will typically encounter a course on epidemiology, which introduces the student to disease control. Women’s health is a required course that teaches how to properly assess a patient. This course is used to develop skills that are required to understand a patient’s social and medical history, and to train the student on how to complete a physical exam and perform common duties, such as breast and pelvic exams. Gynecology is typically introduced in women’s health course.

Benefits of Obtaining a Degree

Registered nurses (RNs) have earned an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). To obtain more advanced roles in the medical field, a student may opt to attend graduate school to earn a master’s degree in nursing (MSN). When a nurse earns a master’s degree, they are able to grow into specialty care, such as nurse midwifery. While an advanced practice nurse (APN) is still considered an RN, they are able to obtain a second license that expands their medical practice. A nurse that has a master’s degree in nursing can provide cost-effective services that are currently in great demand. Students that attend midwife programs and earn a master’s degree in nursing can earn a salary of $67,788 to $87,627 a year. This is compared to the average salary of an RN, which ranges between $52,874 and $70,262 without an MSN but with the same amount of experience.

Career Opportunities for Graduates

There is a wide range of career opportunities for certified-nurse midwives (CNMs), from clinical practice to research. Some options include providing healthcare to women for maternity and gynecologic care. CNMs are able to use their knowledge and skill to aid women in their personal fulfillment through labor and birth. They are able to conduct clinical research on various key topics, including health benefits, safety, and cost-effectiveness of medical and non-medical interventions. CNMs can also go on to become active in national or local legislative affairs, or become policymakers for health care reforms. Nursing is one of the largest healthcare occupations, with more than two million jobs. Nurse midwives are in high demand to provide gynecology and obstetrics serves in low-risk patients. CNMs have the option of working in hospitals, birthing centers, clinics, health departments, institutions, private practices, with physicians, or in institutions.

Professional Organizations

There are a wide range of professional organizations for birth professionals, from midwives to doulas. One of the most well-known professional organizations for midwives is the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives (NACPM). This professional association’s purpose is to contribute research, news, and resources for a new era in maternity care. NACPM advocates for CPMs to the public, to health care policymakers, and to state and federal legislators. It also participates in behalf of CPMs in important national collaborations and to national organizations. Professional midwife organizations, such as NACPM, create campaigns and find other ways to increase women’s access to midwifery, and to qualify affordable, quality maternity care.