A career as a nurse midwife is one that is very rewarding. You help new lives come into the world, and ensure that mothers are healthy. A nurse midwife may also perform gynecological exams, educate patients about birth control methods, and help new mothers deal with postpartum depression. Certified nurse midwives can also admit and discharge patients from the hospital, administer primary care, care for male partners if they contract a sexually transmitted disease, prescribe medication, and many other health care services.
According to the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM), you will need a nursing degree (a Bachelor of Science in Nursing) and a graduate degree. Most programs are two to three years in length. Your education will be divided into two sections, nursing and midwife training. There are several ACNM accredited nurse midwife programs across the country. Here is a small sampling of the available ones:
- University of Florida (MSN/DNP)
- University of Miami (MSN)
- University of Illinois at Chicago (MS, PhD, DNP)
- Baylor University (DNP)
- Texas Tech University Health Center (MSN)
- Columbia University (MS)
You can find a complete list of certified nurse midwife programs by state on the ACNM website. Most programs are campus based, but there are some with online class work and on site clinicals. Since patient care is of upmost importance, hands-on training is a vital part of a nurse midwife program.
Once you are out of school you may decide to become certified. The American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) is responsible for nurse midwife certification. The AMCB has study materials and practice tests on their website so you will be ready when you go to take the certification exam. Earning certification gives you prestige and makes you more desirable to employers. As a certified nurse midwife you will be able to perform many of the health care and educational services of a physician or Nurse Practioner.
In low income areas or rural parts of the country, a nurse midwife may be the only medical care expectant and new mothers, have access to. A nurse midwife treats the patient as a whole, taking into consideration not only their physical but emotional needs as well. This is one area of nursing aspiring nurses should consider if they want to make a difference in the lives of mothers and newborns.