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How to become a nurse midwife

Monday, November 26, 2018
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How to become a nurse midwife

If you are looking for a fulfilling career in the medical field, you might consider becoming a nurse midwife. This career path is best suited to individuals who are passionate about prenatal and postnatal care, as well as women's gynecological health.

The work involved with being a nurse midwife is advanced, so individuals pursuing this career path must earn an advanced degree in Nursing, as well as certification in this field.

The day-to-day functions of a nurse midwife

Being a midwife isn't easy, but it is extremely rewarding. The typical duties associated with being a nurse midwife include:

  • Coordinating all components of the birthing process.
  • Managing and monitoring labor to keep mothers and babies safe.
  • Collaborating with physicians to perform C-sections.
  • Providing gynecological care.
  • Offering knowledge to new and expecting parents.
  • Developing a welcoming relationship with both parents.
woman holding baby with midwife standing over herThe career path of a nurse midwife is rewarding for medical professionals who are interested in prenatal and postnatal care.

Midwives can work in a variety of different settings. They might have their own practice or, more commonly, they might work under a medical organization. The BLS lists some industries that have the highest levels of employment for midwives, such as:

  • Offices of physicians
  • General medical and surgical hospitals
  • Other health practitioners' offices
  • Outpatient care centers
  • Colleges and universities

Career outlooks

In 2013, the most recent year of data collection, certified nurse midwives performed 7.8 percent of births in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Vital Statistics Report. This number seems to be on the rise for a variety of reasons, as reported by The Atlantic. American women enjoy the personal care that midwives provide. Rather than viewing the birth as a medical procedure, as many medical doctors do, midwives approach childbirth as a natural occurrence. In addition, midwives typically intervene only when necessary, which allows for lower costs of care and an emphasis on non-pharmaceutical treatments and remedies.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of nurse midwives is currently $99,770. The BLS also projected a 21 percent rise in the employment of midwives in the U.S. through 2026, reflecting the increasing interest in using midwives during labor.

How to become a nurse midwife

Becoming a nurse midwife involves a specific educational path, which involves getting a master's degree. Some midwives pursue further education to receive a doctorate in their profession. The traditional path to becoming a midwife is divided into the following steps:

  • Become a Registered Nurse: You will need to have a bachelor's degree or certification that is approved by your State Nursing Board to become an RN. You will also need to pass the NCLEX-RN exam in order to practice nursing.
  • Gain experience in the nursing field: Many graduate programs prefer candidates who have a few years of nursing experience over those with no experience.
  • Get an advanced degree in Nurse Midwifery: A bachelor's in nursing and a few years of experience in nursing should set you up for success when you start applying for graduate programs. If you became an RN by getting an associate degree, you may need to take part in a bridge program before applying for your master's.
  • Become a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM): Once you've completed your advanced degree, you will need to take the qualifying exam set by the American Midwifery Certification Board. A passing score gives you a license to practice in all 50 states.

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