If you would like to become a clinical specialist or an advanced practice nurse, it is important to learn what a nurse midwife does so that you can decide if this is the area of specialization for you. Nurse midwives are an integral part of the delivery of reproductive health services for women and are highly sought after since the passage of new Affordable Healthcare legislation. In fact, nurse midwife positions have grown exponentially in the last decade and are projected to see continued growth, Mayo Clinic. If you would like to choose a specialization area that is high in-demand and that is sure to never disappear or phased out, read on and learn more about the role of the nurse midwife and what midwifery care entails.
What Patient Populations Do Nurse Midwives Care for?
Nurse midwives provide gynecological care and obstetrical care to teenagers and women. In most cases, a nurse-midwife will only work with low-risk populations and patients who are in good health and who are seeking reproductive care or family planning services. They can be found in various settings but are most commonly seen in family planning clinics, women’s health centers, hospitals or in their own small private practices where they may offer a full menu of medical services including home birth options. The primary goal of certified professionals within this specialty area is to improve the health of women and their children.
What Types of Care Does a Nurse-Midwife Provide?
Nurse-midwives are specialists who are trained to provide family-centered care to women throughout their entire reproductive lives. As an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) and a specialist, a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) can provide both primary and specialty healthcare services to women who need routine gynecological exams, prenatal care, postnatal care and more, according to Explore Health Careers. In addition to providing clinical care, it is very common for a CNM to take a holistic approach by reducing the need for high-tech machines and other interventions during child labor. They will provide counseling to patients as they are planning for kids, while they are pregnant, and during the postpartum stage.
While CNM’s do attend about 10 percent of births, this is only a small fraction of what a CNM does. In addition to attending births and providing prenatal care to their patients, a nurse-midwife will:
- See patients for reproductive health issues
- Provide routine annual exams
- Prescribe birth control or discuss birth control options
- Diagnose patients and refer them to specialists when necessary
- Care for patients after delivery
How to Become a CNM
If you would love to work with women in an effort to help them have happy and healthy babies, you first need to earn your RN license. Once you are a licensed RN, the next step will be to complete an advanced and accredited Certified Nurse Midwife education program. This is a graduate program that is tailored to cover all of the content that RN’s who want to specialize in midwifery will need to know. Upon completion of this program, you will need to pass a certification exam before you will hold a credential.
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There will always be a need fro specialists in nursing that provide reproductive care. Be sure that you are willing to put in the additional 24 months to complete the graduate-level courses and then you can test to do exactly what a nurse midwife does.