Nurse Midwife Career
How to Become a Nurse Midwife
There are several paths toward becoming a nurse midwife, and more than one level of legal practice in midwifery. Because they are regulated at the state level, the requirements can vary from state to state. Certified nurse midwives are legally able to practice in every state, and are not to be confused with certified midwives, who do not hold the same level of certification.
The main step toward becoming a nurse midwife is to first graduate as a registered nurse from an accredited nurse midwife program, after which one takes a certification examination that is issued by the American Midwifery Certification Board. Alternatively, one could also attend a two-year nursing program and earn an associates degree, and then go through an accredited nurse-midwifery educational program. As of 2010, a master’s degree in nursing, midwifery, or public health will be required to work in a clinical practice.
- Graduate and Undergraduate Degrees and Postgraduate Certificates in Nursing
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing for the Registered Nurse
- Online Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral Nursing Programs and Certificates
Job Duties and Descriptions of a Nurse Midwife
A nurse midwife’s primary focus is to provide care for women in labor and birth, and to provide mothers with prenatal and postpartum care. They assist with newborn care, breastfeeding help, and refer specialists if complications arise before, during, or after delivery. However, they can also serve as a woman’s health practitioner throughout her life span, offering regular well visit check ups and gynecological care, or assistance with family planning. Nurse midwives generally offer more personable care, and usually remain with a woman consistently throughout her labor. Their focus is on non-intervention; however they are able to perform many procedures if needed. Because of their approach to labor and delivery and because of the nature of the work, their shifts can be long and hours irregular.
Nurse Midwife Salary and Job Outlook
A nurse midwife’s salary can vary, and depends on the years of experience, geographic region of practice, as well as the employer. A majority of midwives work in hospitals and in urban settings, with the median salary being $79,093- $89,916, according to a survey put out by the American College of Nurse Midwives. Like all nursing professions, there is a shortage of midwives. Additionally, more and more women are choosing to use a midwife as an alternative to obstetricians for pregnancy and birth. Because they are much more cost-effective and provide high quality care for much needed services, their presence is needed in many communities. This can be a very rewarding profession for those interested in nursing and specifically for those wanting to focus on labor and delivery and on providing women with medical care during this time of their lives.
Listed below are a number of accredited nurse midwife programs to explore. Request information from the programs that interest you to learn more. You may also wish to read more about other opportunities in advanced practice nursing such as becoming a nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist.