Nurse midwives are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who have a master’s degree and clinical training in assisting women through childbirth. However, their scope of care goes beyond childbirth to encompasses other aspects of women’s health care, including gynecologic, family planning, preconception, pregnancy, postpartum, and newborn care for women of all ages, according to the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM). Registered nurses, an occupation that includes nurse midwives, can expect employment growth of 26% between 2010 and 2020, and job opportunities are expected to be particularly positive for nurse midwives in rural and inner city neighborhoods, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Full-time nurse midwives who responded to the ACNM’s 2007 salary survey reported salaries between $79,093 and $89,916, although actual salaries may vary by experience, the region of the country you work in, and the size and type of employer. Typical nurse midwife duties include:
- Providing primary care to women, including health assessments, evaluations, screenings, and treatment
- Educating patients on sexual health, birth planning, and prenatal care
- Confirming pregnancy, monitoring a woman’s health as a pregnancy progresses, and assessing fetal growth and health
- Guiding women through the labor and birthing process, identifying any labor abnormalities, and intervening appropriately if there is a problem during labor, such as an umbilical cord wrapped around the baby’s neck
- Providing newborn care and assessing a newborn’s health
To become a nurse midwife, you must have a minimum of a master’s degree. The typical educational path for a nurse midwife is to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), become licensed as a registered nurse (RN), and then pursue a master’s program in nurse midwifery. Students can then become certified through the American Midwifery Certification Board. However, Masters in Healthcare Management programs are ideal for certified nurse midwives who wish to transition into a management role. Management positions where such a degree would be helpful include director of midwifery services and related positions.
Featured Nurse Midwife Profiles
The best piece of advice Eileen Beard got was to follow her dream and move forward on it. She was a mother to two young children when she decided to do just that and study to become a midwife. After working in a hospital setting for several years, she opened her own birthing clinic in 1981, the first of its kind in Maryland.
Melissa Troncale truly feels that midwifery is her calling. In her first year of midwifery, the Certified Nurse Midwife has delivered more than 100 babies. The mother to a 9 month old, she delivered her own daughter at MomDoc Midwives, the Gilbert, Ariz.-based OB-GYN practice where she works. When we spoke, she had recently completed her first assist training, a surgical training for caesarian births.
Midwifery is not just a job for Stephanie Tillman – it’s a personal mantra. The recent master’s school graduate has worked in both public health and clinical roles, in countries as diverse as Honduras, Malawi, Hungary, Haiti, and The Gambia, and finds providing women’s healthcare the most fulfilling.