What is the role of a Certified Nurse-Midwife?
A midwife is an individual who helps women prepare for labor and childbirth, and it goes without saying that these types nurses have been around for thousands upon thousands of years. Still, it can be argued that a lot of midwives past and present have been more of “traditional birth attendants,” which is a nicer way of saying that these are midwives who have not undergone any kind of medical training or education. Certified Nurse-Midwives, or CNM for short, have that sort of training and then some – they are Registered Nurses with a Master’s or Doctorate degree, and do much more than simple “birth attendants,” as they are well-attuned to women’s medical needs as they get ready to give birth.
As per the American College of Nurse Midwives, or ACNM, the role of a CNM includes the following things within their practice:
– Primary health care services for women, regardless of age
– Family planning and gynecologic advice
– Preconception care
– Perinatal and postpartum care
– Care of newborns for simpler cases and babies no older than 28 days of age
– Care for male partners suffering from sexually-transmitted diseases
The job description of a Certified Nurse Midwife also includes certifications given them by their schools, and these include:
– Conducting physical exams
– Performing thorough assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of medical issues
– Prescription of contraceptives and other similar medications
– Interpretation of laboratory tests
– Ordering the use of, and using medical devices
– Admitting, managing, and discharging patients from hospitals and related facilities
– Educating communities and families about health maintenance
Becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife would typically entail that you attend a nationally accredited Master’s program with a CNM track included – it’s important that the program you choose is accredited by the ACNM. As usual, you’ll need to check the requirements asked of you, as this will all depend on the educational institution and your state’s Board of Nursing. Don’t be afraid to make a call to the schools you are considering, and speak to the right people in admissions and in the nursing department – this will ensure you get the right information at the right time.
CNM programs may require about 80 to 100 credit hours, or even more, and it may take up to four years for you to complete them. Once you have completed your CNM program, you may find employment in any health care facility that would provide full service perinatal care, such as independent birthing centers (not to be confused with hospitals). Hospitals, of course, would have many openings for Certified Nurse Midwives , as it is there where most childbirths occur, but remember once again that the scope of a midwife’s work doesn’t just cover childbirth; it also covers events that take place before or after the child is actually born.