How Do You Become a Nurse Midwife?

The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) states that there are set ways to become a nurse midwife. Most certification programs require a four-year degree, but some accept RNs who haven’t graduated yet. Certain bridge programs offer accelerated nursing training that results in a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Most programs will accept health care professions with a non-related four-year degree.

Prepare During High School

Before applying for nursing school, it is highly recommended that students take certain classes. Depending on the program, students may also be required to complete other prerequisite course. The most common include English, biology, chemistry, nutrition, psychology and human anatomy. Certain programs may require physiology, bio-chemistry and microbiology. Most program look favorably on students who study foreign languages and who can demonstrate a rigorous senior year curriculum. This includes AP and honors classes. Taking the SAT or ACT exams more than once is recommended. This is because some programs combine and average the highest scores from the math and reading sections. Finally, consider retaking any classes with a ‘C’ grade or lower.

Earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from an accredited college is the standard academic requirement for licensed midwife programs. These programs provide a strong focus on professional leadership, which comes with courses in management, and also nursing excellence, which comes with courses in health care therapies and assessments. Emphasis is usually placed on preventative medicine, community health and professional ethics. The curriculum will cover research and evidence based nursing practices, which teaches about research responsibilities and the critical thinking skills required to appraise available evidence. Because nurses must be able to apply leadership concepts and decision making skills in dynamic work environments, courses prepare them to understand organizational values, evaluate leadership systems and focus on quality improvements.

Pass the RN Exam

After graduation, nursing students must obtain a state license as a registered nurse. Almost all states use the nationally recognized NCLEX-RN exam, but state requirements may vary. In order to qualify for the exam, the graduate must come from an approved state nursing board or accredited professional nursing program, according to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. While working as an RN, those who want to become midwives should accumulate experience relevant to midwifery or women’s health. RNs may work in a hospital’s labor and delivery ward, or they may find work in a women’s clinic. During this time, they should complete an accredited midwife education program. Note that state licensure usually requires the completion of an Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME) approved graduate program.

Related Resource: Become a Neonatal Nurse

These midwifery degree programs enhance students’ clinical and academic midwife skills. The curriculum covers all aspects of pregnancy and birth, such as physical assessments, neonatology and postpartum care. Candidates must pass the exam within two years of completing their midwife degree program. Once students pass their AMCB exam, they earn the Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) credential. To maintain CNM certification, the holder must complete 20 hours of continuing education credits every five years.