Whether you are just starting to consider a healthcare career or you are a nurse looking to take your next step, there are many paths to consider. One option that offers both personal and professional fulfillment is becoming a certified nurse-midwife (CNM).
What is a Nurse-Midwife?
Nurse-midwives are advanced practice registered nurses who specialize in providing healthcare services to women throughout their reproductive lifespan. They are trained to provide a full spectrum of care, including being the primary provider for prenatal care, birth services, postpartum care, family planning services, well-woman care, and menopausal care.
Nurse-midwives approach patient care holistically and are skilled in providing evidence-based, person-centered care that supports the patient’s physical, emotional, and social wellbeing. While nurse-midwives are licensed to provide care independently, they also work collaboratively with other healthcare providers to ensure that women receive the care and support they need.
Reasons to Consider a Career in Nurse-Midwifery
We connected with Katrina Wu, CNM, program director of Bethel University’s M.S. in Nurse-Midwifery, who shared more about the midwifery profession and why someone might choose to become a nurse-midwife.
1. Midwifery is meaningful work.
As a midwife, you get to be with patients during incredibly special moments. “Being invited into someone’s intimate, vulnerable, and sacred birth space will forever be an honor and a privilege,” Wu says, as she reflects on the passion that attracts many nurses to the profession. “Welcoming new life is such a gift.”
Nurses are also often drawn to a career in midwifery because of the philosophy behind the profession. “The heart of midwifery is to be a fierce advocate for patient autonomy. We help patients take ownership of their healthcare and support patients in the choices they make for their bodies,” Wu says. Read about the ACNM’s hallmarks of midwifery for more details.
2. Midwives develop close relationships with their patients.
Patients may choose to see a midwife because they are seeking more personalized care, and as a certified nurse-midwife, you’d be able to provide that. Nurse-midwives have the opportunity to develop close relationships with their patients as they care for them throughout their lifespan. “It’s really fun to be able to see patients pregnancy after pregnancy—to remember what their last birth was like and then to be able to be with them as they do it again,” Wu says.
3. Nurse-midwives have a high level of autonomy in their work.
According to Wu, Bethel’s nurse-midwifery program enrolls many labor and delivery nurses who are interested in playing a more active role in decision-making. As a nurse-midwife, you’ll be an independent healthcare provider who is able to make decisions and provide care without the need for physician supervision.
4. There’s great variety in midwifery.
Nurse-midwives can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, birth centers, and federally qualified health centers. Midwives also experience variety in their work on a daily basis; they might be in the hospital attending a birth one day and in the clinic seeing patients for routine prenatal care the next. Nurse-midwives also provide primary healthcare to patients before or after pregnancy.
5. The demand for nurse-midwives is growing.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of nurse-midwifery is growing much faster compared to other professions. More and more patients are seeking more personalized forms of maternity care, and the demand for nurse-midwives is only projected to increase.
How to Become a Nurse Midwife
Nurse-midwives receive graduate-level nursing education from programs like Bethel University’s M.S. in Nurse-Midwifery. To enroll in a master-level nurse-midwifery program, you must be a registered nurse with a bachelor’s degree. Bethel’s nurse-midwifery program can be finished in as few as 2-3 years, and its primarily online format allows nurses to remain connected in their current nursing community, no matter where they live.
Bethel’s nurse-midwifery program is led by experienced faculty, all of whom are advanced practice nurses and most of whom are nurse-midwives. Courses are taught from a Christian worldview, but students from all faith journeys are welcome. Learn more!