Certified nurse-midwife shadowing hours

July 15, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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Shadowing a certified nurse midwife, or CNM, is an excellent idea before committing to a career in the field. Although you can read about being a midwife and talk to someone familiar with the job, seeing the role and job duties first-hand is the best way to get an understanding of the profession.

Getting started

Once you find a midwife to shadow or become involved in a shadowing program, you want to have the best experience possible. First, determine how many hours you will be able to observe and what setting you will be in. The more hours you are allowed, the better. Asiya posing with her mentor on the neonatal ward in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Shadowing a nurse-midwife for several weeks or months will provide you with a chance to see varied cases and situations. 

If possible, try to shadow a certified midwife who attends both hospital and home births. This will allow you learn the differences in both settings and may help you decide what you are comfortable with.

Before you start to shadow a midwife, be sure you understand any rules or restrictions. In some cases, patient privacy laws may mean you have to sign confidentiality forms. Some women may not be comfortable with a student hanging around and shadowing a midwife. If that is the case, don’t take it personally and respect their wishes.



There are several benefits to shadowing a certified nurse-midwife. One of the main advantages is that shadowing helps you get a clear understanding of what a midwife does on a day-to-day basis. You will get a feel for the responsibilities of a midwife before, during and after childbirth.

Shadowing also allows you to gain some patient care experience. Even if you are only observing, you may still be communicating with patients. You will also see how a midwife interacts with patients, which can be educational.

Not everyone who is considering a career as a midwife has witnessed childbirth. Shadowing a nurse-midwife will allow you to gain exposure to the type of environment you would be working in. Being able to witness childbirth and everything involved may help you decide that working as a midwife is the perfect choice for you.

Making the most of the experience

Regardless of how many hours you will be shadowing a midwife, you want to make the most of the experience. As soon as you schedule your shadowing experience, make a list of questions you have. Don’t overwhelm the midwife the minute you get started with all your questions, but keep the in mind and ask them throughout your experience. Now is the time to learn as much as you can about the profession. Don’t hesitate to ask about responsibilities, job opportunities, salary and the future of the profession. These are all important factors when deciding if you should pursue a career as a nurse-midwife. 

Many people select a career without really seeing what is involved. Shadowing a certified nurse-midwife allows you to experience what it is like to work in the field, which will help you decide if it is the right career to pursue.