Is Being a Midwife a Lucrative Career Path?
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Being a midwife is a unique job that entails caring for pregnant, laboring, and postpartum women. You’ve found the right resource if it sounds like something you’d like to do. This article covers all the information you require regarding how to become a midwife.
Who Is a Nurse Midwife?
Midwives focus on pregnancies, births, and often the first six weeks after giving birth. People who are expecting frequently prefer to deal with midwives because they can offer a more personal experience.
For instance, some midwives who work in private practice might provide unique services like home births. According to research, persons who receive care from a midwife also experience improved health outcomes, fewer interventions, and higher satisfaction levels.
Many midwives work in hospitals, obstetrician and gynecologist clinics, and birthing facilities. Primary care for pregnant patients, physical examinations, patient care plans, and information on different birthing options are all responsibilities.
Certified nurse midwives play a crucial role in healthcare teams and occasionally run their practices. The field of midwifery is expanding quickly, just like other advanced practice nursing jobs. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that CNM positions will increase by 11% by 2030, which is faster than the national average.
The American College of Nurse-Midwives reports that since 2005, the demand for nurse-midwifery services has been consistently rising. According to the most recent data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), CNMs attended 372,991 births in the United States in 2020, or over 10.2%.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a faster-than-average 11% increase in CNM employment through 2030.
What Does a Midwife Do?
Being a midwife may be both rewarding and demanding. As a midwife, you’ll build and maintain a relationship with a pregnant woman and then aid her in having the best birth experience possible by preparing for and attending to the birth. You may do any of the following:
- Walk through the woman’s birthing option with her
- Run classes about pregnancy and parenting
- Check on the health of the mother and baby during pregnancy
- Monitor both the mother and baby during birth
- Advise the woman on how to relieve pain
- Help to deliver the baby
- Advice on how to care for the baby after birth
- Check on the mother and baby after birth
What Skills Do Midwives Need?
You’ll need to possess the following abilities to become a midwife:
Communication: You’ll be constructing a pregnancy and birthing plan, and you’ll need to be able to explain it to the women you work with clearly and compassionately.
Teamwork: To ensure smooth and safe delivery, you’ll need to collaborate with family members, medical specialists, and the mother and baby with whom you work.
Detail-oriented Skills: It requires a meticulous individual who can anticipate the demands of the mother and the unborn child and carry out a strategy that accommodates all of them to navigate pregnancy and delivery.
Steps to Becoming a Nurse Midwife
To pursue a career as a nurse midwife, candidates must first be licensed as registered nurses (RNs), which calls for either a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree or an associate degree in nursing (ADN).
While a BSN is necessary to pursue additional degrees, an ADN is a minimum qualification to become an R.N. To become a certified nurse midwife, students interested in advanced nurse midwife roles might pursue a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing (MSN) (CNM). Advanced practice registered nurses are known as CNMs (APRNs).
The length of each degree pathway, exam specifics, and licensing criteria are covered in the following section.
#1 – Obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing
A BSN is a four-year degree that provides more options than an associate degree and helps individuals enhance their leadership skills. However, those who want to start their careers off right might want to think about getting an ADN.
ADN students can get a state license after just two years of education. A faster route to a nurse-midwifery degree may be available for students with a bachelor’s degree or college experience in another discipline who enroll in an accelerated BSN program.
#2 – Become NCLEX Certified
Aspiring midwives must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for R.N.s (NCLEX-RN) to start working in entry-level nursing roles after completing a BSN program. There are four main categories and eight subcategories on this exam. Up to 145 questions may be present on the NCLEX, which uses flexible question formats.
#3 – Gain Nursing Experience
Before admittance, most graduate-level nursing programs demand at least one to two years of clinical experience. Practical experience can help applicants to graduate from very competitive schools.
Before obtaining CNM degrees and additional certification, nurses frequently work as registered nurses (RNs). They can possess the authority and knowledge required for advanced practice responsibilities, thanks to their experience.
To prepare for their upcoming positions as CNMs, nurses might take additional certification exams during this period. For instance, the National Certification Corporation offers neonatal intensive care nursing certification to registered nurses.
One year of work experience and passing an exam are prerequisites for this degree, which improves nurses’ abilities with newborn babies.
#4 – Enroll in a Graduate Program for Nursing and Midwifery
While part-time students may take up to five years to complete their degree, full-time students should plan to complete their MSN in two years.
The minimum educational qualification for CNMs is an MSN. However, students can continue to a DNP in 3–4 years. Universities could also provide part-time opportunities that take up to seven years to complete. With a DNP, students may choose the audience and problems they wish to concentrate on.
#5 – Obtain APRN Licensure and a Speciality Certification
Students who have completed advanced nurse midwife education are eligible to sit for the nurse-midwifery specialty national certification exam. Practitioners who have achieved national certification from the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) are qualified to care for patients.
Students must hold an unrestricted R.N. license and have received their degree from an institution approved by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education to be eligible. Every five years, CNMs must apply for recertification. Nurse midwives can apply for APRN licensure in their state after passing their certification exam. Each state has its requirements for licensure.
#6 – Find Work
To identify which facilities will best support their professional objectives, R.N.s should consider their desired population. From 2020 to 2030, there will be a 45% rise in demand for midwives, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS). But students should consider qualifications and experiences that can set them apart from their competitors.
Degrees you Need for Midwifery
An MSN is a minimum degree needed to become a certified nurse midwife. You should be aware that the quantity of education and work experience required to become a nurse midwife varies.
The following sections provide information about program lengths, coursework, and entry requirements.
The first step for students who wish to be midwives is to get a BSN, which will prepare them for an MSN. An R.N. license is also available to ADN graduates. To acquire an MSN, practitioners would have to look at different bridging programs.
Admission Requirements: 2.5 GPA; resume; essay; 2-3 letters of recommendation
Program Curriculum: Courses may include fundamentals of caregiving and introductory science and math classes. Students must also complete clinical field experiences.
Time to Complete: Four years with full-time attendance
Skills Learned: You will learn to provide patient care to diverse communities and develop evidence-based practice, leadership, and management skills.
The minimal prerequisite to becoming a certified nurse midwife (CNM) is an MSN. Considering it takes less time than a DNP, practitioners pursue this degree to begin their careers as midwives.
Admission Requirements: 3.0 GPA; resume; three letters of recommendation; an R.N. license; some schools may ask for GRE scores
Program Curriculum: MSN programs emphasize clinical leadership and patient advocacy. Courses may include gynecologic health, advanced pathophysiology and pharmacology, and healthcare ethics. Students must participate in clinical to qualify for licensure.
Time to Complete: Two years with full-time attendance (ADN-holders may qualify for accelerated bridge programs.)
Skills Learned: Students build on interpersonal communication, decision-making, and clinical leadership skills.
Doctor of Nursing Practice
Applicants must have an MSN from an authorized university to be considered for DNP programs. In some nurse-midwifery programs, students can finish their MSN and DNP in a bridge program, earning both degrees in three years. Practitioners with a DNP get a competitive edge by demonstrating their subject-matter expertise.
Admission Requirements: 3.0 GPA at a minimum; an unencumbered R.N. license; GRE scores; clinical experience with the target population
Program Curriculum: Goals include independently maintaining and restoring women’s health. Courses may consist of the science of healthcare delivery and clinical experiences.
Time to Complete: Three years with full-time attendance
Skills Learned: Graduates gain advanced clinical instruction and research methods for improving patient outcomes.
Becoming a Nurse Midwife: FAQ
Q: What is the fastest path to becoming a nurse midwife?
A student’s education and experience will determine their path to becoming a midwife. For instance, beginning students would wish to consider obtaining a BSN before continuing to an MSN, which takes roughly six years overall with full-time attendance. BSN holders need to complete the two-year MSN program.
Q: Why is the accreditation of a nursing program important?
For midwifery degrees, accrediting organizations impose minimal requirements. Accreditations are used by employers, state nursing boards, and the AMCB to assess whether students are prepared to perform their job-related responsibilities. The AMCB requires applicants to have a degree from an approved institution; thus, students should be aware of this requirement.
Q: What are nurse midwives paid for each hour?
A variety of circumstances can influence the income potential of midwives. Students may want to consider factors including geography, employment environment, educational attainment, and experience. For instance, DNP applicants expect to be paid more than MSN candidates. However, the BLS reports that as of May 2021, the average hourly wage for nurse midwives was $54.91.
Q: Is becoming a nurse midwife challenging?
Students should devote a minimum of six years to their studies. Additionally, this field necessitates countless hours of fieldwork. Students must further pass license and certification tests. Practitioners who want to become experts in the field should prepare to complete an additional 3–4 years of education to achieve a DNP.