A nurse midwife is a type of advanced practice nurse that works with women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery as well as other gynecological procedures. Nurses who want to study midwifery must return to school for an advanced degree. Nursing schools that train nurse midwives offer education through classroom instruction and practice working with women to teach students about the important roles of midwives in women’s health.
To become a nurse midwife, you must first gain an undergraduate degree in nursing. Some nursing schools that train midwives also request that you have at least one to two years of experience working as a nurse before applying to school. You should also have an interest in caring for babies, natural methods of childbirth, and teaching women about health. Acceptance into midwifery training may also involve other prerequisites, including your undergraduate grade point average, professional references, and overall work experience.
Studying to become a nurse midwife involves gaining a master’s degree in nursing. Students take classroom instruction to learn about families, medication use, the labor and birth process, and assessment of newborn babies. Students must then fulfill a certain number of hours of clinical practice in areas of public health, obstetrics, and gynecology. They may practice working in clinics, hospitals, or community settings, following an experienced nurse midwife to learn necessary skills.
After graduation from a nurse midwife program, students must take an exam for certification. This test is administered by the American College of Nurse Midwives, and upon passing, a graduate becomes a certified nurse midwife (CNM).
Nurse midwives may work closely with doctors to care for patients, or they may work individually, depending on their location of employment. Some nurse midwives in rural areas may be the only source of health care for many women, by helping to deliver babies and caring for other illnesses. In other areas, nurse midwives help to provide a birth experience that is less restricted, allowing the natural process to occur.
Some nurse midwives intervene during birth only when necessary, usually when there is a risk to the mother or baby. Many mothers-to-be choose this type of care because they feel they can receive assistance during pregnancy from someone who is compassionate and will help them deliver their baby in a relaxed setting. Nurse midwives have the advantage of having a history of nursing experience, making them trustworthy individuals to provide compassionate and professional care.