November 26, 2013 | 8:25 p.m.
By Suzanne McInroy, Director of Communications
A Bethel student practices her nursing skills in the state-of-the-art nursing simulation lab.
Bethel University’s Graduate School will launch a Master of Science in nurse-midwifery in fall 2014. The program will be online with three face-to-face residencies – about three or four days each – and taught by Christian, Bethel University nursing professors.
“Nurse-midwifery is about holistic care which is a focus for all of Bethel’s nursing programs,” explains Diane Dahl, associate dean of health, medicine, and social sciences for the College of Adult and Professional Studies and Graduate School. “Bethel is privileged to serve students from widely varying faith perspectives. Bethel’s midwifery program will be taught from a distinctly Christian perspective.”
In addition, Bethel University has expanded its professional relationship with Allina Health System to develop the nurse-midwifery program. Allina provided a substantial grant to partially fund the program development. Allina staff members will be among the first to be served by this new advanced practice program.
“This strategic alliance between Bethel and Allina addresses a growing area of need in providing high quality affordable mother-baby care in the U.S. and internationally. The American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) has established a professional education goal of certifying 1,000 new midwives per year in the in the U.S. alone by 2015. Our transformational nurse-midwife program will help meet that demand and produce ‘world changers’ in this critical area of community health,” reports Richard Crombie, vice president and dean of CAPS and GS.
Students in the nurse-midwifery program will learn about the history of the profession and gain training in how to practice today, which can vary in location from homes, clinics, hospitals, and overseas in underserved populations. “A future goal is to have an international experience for all students in this program,” Dahl says.
There will also be classes discussing the ethical issues related to women’s health, such as abortion, birth control, sexually transmitted diseases, and infertility. "Nurse-midwives are advanced practice nurses trained to meet the pregnancy and gynecology needs of healthy women within a system that provides consultation, collaboration, and referral to physicians when necessary," explains Julie Ann Vingers, a nurse-midwife as well as an assistant professor in Bethel’s nursing program who will teach classes in the new midwifery program as well.
Bethel’s program will be four semesters in length with about 30 students in each cohort. Students entering the program must have a bachelor’s degree. This master’s program will prepare students to both practice and go on for a doctoral degree.
The nurse-midwifery program is in the pre-accreditation process with the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME) and is on schedule to be pre-accredited by spring 2014.