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How To Become A Certified Nurse Midwife
If you're looking for a career where you can work closely with pregnant women of all ages, supporting them, meeting their needs, and assisting with pregnancy through to postpartum care, you should become a certified nurse midwife (CNM).
What is a Certified Nurse Midwife?
A certified nurse midwife (CNM) is a career that revolves around women's health, with CNMs providing assistance with pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
It differs from the role of a certified midwife (CM). A CNM is a registered nurse who has graduated from a nurse-midwifery program. CMs are similarly skilled and focused, but they are not advanced practice registered nurses and haven't completed the same extensive training.
Both certified nurse midwives and certified midwives take certification exams before they practice.
What Do Certified Nurse Midwives Do?
Nurse midwives deal with many aspects of care concerning pregnancy, birth, and gynecological health.
It's often falsely assumed that CNMs work exclusively with pregnant women, but their roles and responsibilities extend to many areas of female healthcare.
For instance, a certified nurse midwife may provide assistance and education relating to contraception and birth control while also dealing with multiple aspects of gynecological health and preventative care. They can arrange treatments, make diagnoses, and even prescribe medications.
Certified nurse midwives also care for infants during the first few months of their lives.
How To Become a Certified Nurse Midwife
There are four steps to becoming a certified nurse midwife:
Step One: Complete a BSN at an Accredited School
The first step to becoming a nurse midwife is to complete a Bachelor's Degree through an accredited program. This will typically take four years, but it depends on whether or not you have any existing degrees or qualifications, as well as whether you study part-time or full-time.
Step Two: Complete the NCLEX-RN
After graduating, you can move onto the NCLEX-RN exam, completion of which will qualify you as a registered nurse.
Step Three: Get a Master's Degree or Doctoral Degree
The next step is to advance to a Master's or Doctoral Degree. This could take a couple of years to finish and depending on your education, you may need to complete a bridge program.
Step Four: Become a Certified Nurse Midwife
The final step is to get certified. Nurse midwifery certification is provided by the American Midwifery Certification Board. You must pass a national certification exam, and this will grant you a license to operate as a certified nurse midwife in all 50 states, including US territories.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Certified Nurse Midwife?
Becoming a certified nurse midwife is not something that happens overnight. After accounting for the Bachelor's Degree, registered nurse license, Master's Degree, and certification exam, it could take between 6 and 8 years to qualify.
Is a Midwife Higher than a Nurse?
Certified nurse midwives have completed similar training to other nurses, but this training is taken a step further by the addition of a Master's Degree or Doctoral Degree. The higher education requirement means they are more qualified.
Where Do Nurse Midwives Work?
Nurse midwives work in the following clinical settings:
- Community Health Centers
- Birth Centers
- Primary Care Clinics
They may also work in areas specializing in research and education.
How Do I Become a Nurse Midwife in Canada?
Nurse midwives in Canada must complete a 4-year baccalaureate program. These are direct entry programs, which means they don't need any other credentials before they apply.
There are over half a dozen educational facilities offering these programs in Canada, including:
- McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario
- Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta
- Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario
- Université du Québec à Troise-Rivières in Trois-Rivières, Quebec
- University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia
- University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Manitoba
Where are Certified Nurse Midwives Needed?
There is a nursing shortage in the United States, and the need for healthcare professionals is growing every single year. The shortage has been evident for a number of years now, but it became even more of a concern after 2020. The stress of dealing with the pandemic forced many nurses away from the profession and placed an even greater strain on the healthcare system.
Like all healthcare professionals, nurse midwives worked through the chaos and placed their lives on the life to ensure that patients continued to get adequate care.
What's more, there are over 3.5 million babies born every year in the United States, and while fertility rates are dropping in many states, that's still a huge number of pregnant women and infants that need care.
A certified nurse midwife plays an important and active role in protecting the health of the next generation and so it will always be an essential profession.
The table below will give you an idea of the fertility rates across the United States, along with the rate of infant mortality.
|State||Fertility Rate||Births||Infant Mortality||Deaths|
How Much Do Certified Nurse Midwives Make?
The median average salary for nurse midwives in the United States is $111.130, which equates to $53.43 per hour.
However, the top 10% earn an average of $86.43 an hour and $179.770 a year. Your salary as a certified nurse midwife is also dependent on your location, with residents of states like California earning significantly more than the national average.
The table below includes the latest certified nurse midwife salary data from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics.
|States||Hourly Wage||Annual Wage||Employment|
|District of Columbia||39.91||83,010||70|
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