Becoming a certified nurse-midwife

November 4, 2013

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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A certified nurse-midwife is basically an advanced-practice RN who provides care and counseling to women from pre-conception to pregnancy and childbirth and right through the postpartum period. Many people believe that the only job that midwives do is to assist with the actual birth but this is not true. While assisting with births is the core job function, it is only a fraction of what a midwife does.

Certified nurse midwives or CNMs are skilled health professionals. They practice in wide variety of clinical settings including hospitals, clinics, private practices and health departments, diagnosing and treating patients and referring them to specialists when required. In addition to caring for their pregnant patients before, during and after childbirth, they also provide routine gynecological services such as annual gynecologic exams, reproductive health care and menopausal care and advice. 

Looking after a newly delivered baby in Tanzania Academic Requirements For Becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife

To obtain a Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) you have to complete a nationally accredited program and pass the national certification exam. In the United States, there are currently 42 programs that have been accredited by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM). Thirty nine of these are graduate programs and four are post-baccalaureate certificate. You will need to complete a graduate degree for entry into clinical practice anywhere in the United States.

Holding a bachelor’s degree is a minimum requirement for all courses. Many programs also require that applicants be a registered nurse (RN). However, today, there are more and more programs being introduced that accept students who hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree.  Some, but not all, require that entering RNs hold a BSN or a bachelor’s degree in nursing,

If you have a non-nursing degree such as a BA or BS, you will become a certified midwife.

If you already have a nursing degree – BSN, you will become a certified nurse-midwife. 

In most cases, registered nurses who do not have a bachelor’s degree will be required to complete a bachelor’s degree before attending a CNM program.  There are several programs today that are specially designed to obtain a flexible option for nurses with an associate degree to complete their bachelor’s studies in the course of the CNM program.

What You Should Know About Applying for admission to a CNM program

Because of the limited number of CNM programs in offer in the US and the intensive faculty-to-student ratio, most programs have very limited seats for new students every year. Unless your academic and non-academic qualifications are really outstanding, don’t be surprised if your application is not accepted the first time. Most medical schools receive far more applications that their programs can accommodate. If your application has been rejected the first time, it does not mean you should give up this career path completely. Instead, make firms to reapply during the next round of admission and spend the gap year honing your skills and brushing up your academic knowledge.