How to become a Midwife-Are you interested in studying midwifery?If so, you may like to know about some of the study options available to you.
The nurse-midwife (NM), now more commmonly referred to as the certified nurse-midwife (CNM), is a highly trained, advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) who specializes in primary and reproductive care for women and their babies. They typically work in private practices, hospitals, birth centers, public health systems, or other types of clinics. According to the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), their responsibilities include assisting with births, promoting reproductive and primary care education, offering counseling, and ensuring the health of women and their babies.
The ACNM issued a position statement declaring that as of 2010, a Master’s degree be the baseline educational requirement for entry into clinical practice as a Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) or Certified Midwife (CM). So whereas in the past nurse-midwives could enter clinical practice with a valid RN license and a BSN degree, now aspiring professionals must first earn an MSN degree from an accredited program and then certify with the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) prior to practicing.
But figuring out how to become a midwife can seem confusing since midwifery is still just starting to blossom as a career in the United States. Following these 7 tips can help you get started on the right track.
Find an ACME Accredited Nurse-Midwifery Program
Learning how to become a midwife starts with finding a midwifery program that will meet your needs, fit your budget and help you accomplish your professional goals. Finding a program that’s accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME) will ensure that you receive a thorough education and provide you with the opportunity to get certified by the AMCB.
Imagine Yourself Becoming a Midwife
Can you imagine yourself guiding a first-time mother through her labor and delivery experience? Do you get excited at the thought of listening to a fetal heart rate monitor, measuring prenatal growth signs and talking with moms and dads about the transition into parenthood? Are you the kind of person who can handle being on-call on evenings, weekends and holidays? Take the time to imagine yourself becoming a midwife to see if it agrees with who you are.
Determine Which Type of Program Is Best For You
Determining how to become a midwife can seem difficult at first glance. But once you begin to understand the big picture, it becomes clearer. The most direct method is to get your Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN), then complete a graduate degree program in midwifery to become a nurse-midwife. But options are available for RNs without bachelor’s degrees, non-nursing students with bachelor’s degrees in other disciplines, health practitioners with other graduate degrees, and more.
Look for Likeminded Faculty
Nurse-midwives share a foundation of excellent advanced training, but not all practice in the same way. If you are passionate about drug-free delivery, look for faculty members who share your convictions. But if more personalized care and longer prenatal appointments are what draw you to the profession, ask questions to be sure you’ll learn from professors who focus on these aspects.
Choose a School with a Good AMCB Certification Exam Passage Rate
The AMCB administers the exam that all CNMs and CMs must pass in order to become certified. Attending a nurse-midwife school with a high exam passage rate increases the likelihood that you will receive a high quality education that will help you pass the certification exam when the time comes.
Get Educated About Natural Childbirth
The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) states that its mission is to “promote the health and well-being of women and infants.” And this is done “through the development and support of the profession of midwifery as practiced by certified nurse-midwives, and certified midwives.” Along these lines, different midwifery practices can have different views on aspects of natural childbirth such as un-medicated births, locations and physician involvement. Knowing where you stand on these issues will help you choose a path that will be most satisfying to you in the long run.
Talk to the Financial Aid Director
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) reported that in 2011, over $15 million in active grants were dispersed to health care professions, including maternal and child health care. Scholarships, loans, grants and loan repayment programs are also available to midwifery students. Talk to the financial aid director at your school to learn about all the options you have.
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