Getting to Know Nurse Midwives

Maddy has been contemplating lately. She feels that she is lacking something in her life. She is currently working as an OR/DR nurse in the hospital, she likes assisting in deliveries. She loves seeing the baby take his/her first breath and take the first glimpse of the world. These days, she has been thinking of taking things unto the next level. She wants to be a nurse midwife. But can she do it? How? Does she have what it takes to become one?

What are Nurse Midwives?

Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) are advanced practice registered nurses who provide counseling and care during pre-conception, pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period. Together with their colleagues, these nurse midwives also provide family-centered primary healthcare to women throughout their reproductive lives.

Duties and responsibilities of a nurse midwife include:

  • Delivering prenatal, postpartum and newborn care
  • Providing care during childbirth
  • Tracking fetal development
  • Performing physical exams
  • Acting as primary health care provider for women
  • Keeping records of physical exams, patients’ medical history and other pertinent information
  • Referring patients to specialists

Certified nurse-midwives are regulated at two different levels. Licensing occurs at the state level and falls under specific state laws. As with other advanced practice nurses, license requirements for CNMs can vary from state to state. Certification is done through a national organization and all states have the same requirements for professional practice standards. Only those who are graduates of nurse-midwifery programs accredited by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) are eligible to take the certification exam given by the ACNM Certification Council, Inc.

Certified nurse-midwives work in a variety of settings, such as private practices, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), hospitals, health departments, and birthing centers and often provide care to underserved populations in rural areas or inner-city settings.

How to become a Nurse Midwife

For one to become a Nurse midwife, he/she must first acquire a Nursing Diploma either in Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). After which, he/she must then pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to practice nursing and get at least two to four years work experience in a midwife-related field. Then, he/she must get further graduate education in either a Nurse-Midwife Education program or direct entry program and a Certification from the American College of Nurse-Midwives Certification Council (ACNM) or similar organizations. After all of these steps have been taken, you can now be a Certified Nurse Midwife.


Photo Credits:

Liane Clores, RN MAN

Currently an Intensive Care Unit nurse, pursuing a degree in Master of Arts in Nursing Major in Nursing Service Administration. Has been a contributor of Student Nurses Quarterly, Vox Populi, The Hillside Echo and the Voice of Nightingale publications. Other experience include: Medical-Surgical, Pediatric, Obstetric, Emergency and Recovery Room Nursing.

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