The nurse-midwife (NM), now more commonly 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 to counsel, and ensuring the health of women and their babies.
Certified midwives assist with childbirth. They also assist with pregnancy, postnatal care, newborn health, and general women's health issues.
Examining and monitoring pregnant women
Assessing care requirements and writing care plans.
Undertaking antenatal care in hospitals, homes and GP practices.
Carrying out screening tests.
Providing information, emotional support, and reassurance to women and their partners.
Taking patient samples, pulses, temperatures and blood pressures.
Caring for and assisting women in labor.
Monitoring and administering medication, injections, and intravenous infusions during labor.
Monitoring the fetus during labor.
Advising about and supporting parents in the daily care of their new-born babies.
Helping parents to cope with miscarriage, termination, stillbirth and neonatal death.
Candidates for American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) certification as a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) or Certified Midwife (CM) can take one of two paths. The CNM path requires the candidate to first become a registered nurse. The CM path requires the candidate to obtain a bachelor's degree. Then, each path requires the candidate to attend and pass a graduate degree midwife program accredited by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education.
Those who plan to pursue AMCB's CM designation can complete a bachelor's degree in any subject, though nursing or a related field might be particularly beneficial. The CNM certification requires that the candidate obtain a bachelor's degree in nursing.
A student who wants to earn AMCB certification as either a CNM or a CM must complete a graduate degree program in midwifery that's been accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME). Graduate degree programs in midwifery give students the opportunity to advance their midwife skills both academically and clinically. Most programs are two years.
Students who hold registered nurse licenses are eligible for AMCB's Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) credential upon graduating from a midwife degree program. CM candidates are eligible to take the AMCB exam after submitting credentials verifying completion of an ACME-approved program.
Continuing education units are required to maintain all midwife certifications. CNMs and CMs participate in AMCB's Certificate Maintenance Program, which operates on a 5-year cycle. Within those five years, CNMs/CMs must either complete three self-learning modules and 20 CEUs or retake the certification exam and complete 20 CEUs in order to renew their certifications.
An associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) includes courses in anatomy, nursing, chemistry, microbiology among others. Earning an ADN opens the door to entry-level staff nurse positions which will provide students with some experience in the medical field. From here, students can enroll in a “bridge” program where they’ll earn a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree and a midwifery graduate education.
Another option is to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) and then continue on to graduate-level certified nurse midwife training. On the other hand, an RN-to-BSN program will teach you how to work with individuals and communities and understand the general practice of nursing.
The Master of Science in Nursing is your ultimate goal when working toward a nurse-midwife career. Earning an MSN can take between 18 to 24 months for full-time students. Part-time options are available and usually, take between three to four years. Coursework for certified midwifery will rely heavily on teachings about labor and delivery, plus other health issues related to women.