For as long as women have been having babies, midwives have been there to offer the care and support pregnant women need to deliver their children safely. The practice of midwifery has evolved over the years from informal support of female friends and family members to modern, certified nurse-midwifes that obtain licensure after completing their nursing education. One thing has remained the same for centuries, however, and that is the valuable role that midwives play.
Today, those who become midwives after studying in an RN program are especially important because of the additional medical training that they have. What do nurse-midwives do, what training is required, and what are the job prospects for these individuals? This guide has the answers to these important questions.
The Role of Nurse-Midwives
Nurse-midwives are licensed LPNs or RNs that have attained additional certification in midwifery. Whether they obtain their education through online RN programs or other traditional nursing programs, nurse-midwives are equipped to help pregnant women before, during, and after pregnancy.
Those who serve in nurse jobs as nurse-midwives are able to offer primary pregnancy care to women who are in a low-risk pregnancy. They also work with obstetricians and gynecologists to care for women who have riskier pregnancies or who are facing the threat of pregnancy complications. Physicians who practice gynecology value the input of those who have chosen midwifery as a nursing career, so nurse-midwives generally have an easier time getting a job with an OB-GYN or in the labor-and-delivery ward of a local hospital than those who have graduated from nursing programs without studying midwifery.
In addition to caring for pregnant women and helping to deliver babies, nurse-midwives who have graduated from online nursing programs or more traditional nursing schools also attain the skills needed to help women with gynecological problems, sexual health, and other related matters. In fact, it is increasingly common for nurse-midwives to be the primary individuals who provide gynecological care, especially when they are also certified nurse practitioners.
Training Requirements for Nurse-Midwives
Like all other nurses, those who are searching for nurse jobs as nurse-midwives must be officially licensed as a licensed practical nurse or a registered nurse in their home state. This requires the completion of an LPN program or RN program leading to an accredited nursing degree. Because of the time and cost savings available through online nursing programs, many individuals are choosing to enroll in online LPN programs and online RN programs in order to fulfill these degree requirements.
Licensure as an RN or LPN results from passing the NCLEX examination, which proves that the test-taker has the necessary skills to enter the nursing profession. Since nurse-midwives represent one of the many specialized nursing occupations, those who are interested in this field will also need special certification as a midwife. The best way to prepare for this certification is to pursue a nursing education program that has a concentration in nurse-midwifery, but focusing one’s clinic hours in the labor-and-delivery setting is also a good way to prepare for these nurse jobs. Many nursing schools offer nursing programs with concentrations in nurse-midwifery, so it should not be difficult to find a program that will fit a student’s interests and talents well.
In addition to this educational background, a certified nurse-midwife must pass the test administered by the American Midwifery Certification board. Like the NCLEX, this midwifery certification exam proves that the student is ready and able to serve well in a nursing career that is focused on the care of pregnant women. It should be taken only after the student has studied long and hard for nurse-midwifery certification.
Job Outlook for Nurse-Midwives
The overall shortage of nurses in the United States means that job prospects for certified nurse-midwives remain excellent. A drive to lower healthcare costs in the country will also guarantee that nurse-midwives can find employment in the foreseeable future. It is generally less expensive for hospitals and insurance companies to care for patients using nurses than it is to use medical doctors, and this is particularly true in the area of obstetrics and gynecology. Nursing occupations in this field, therefore, are abundant, and they will continue to be so as the cost of healthcare increases.
The average salary for those who graduate from an LPN program or RN program and become a certified nurse-midwife is upwards of $75,000. These excellent earning prospects make the decision to become a nurse-midwife a no-brainer, but those who choose midwifery as their nursing career also report a high degree of emotional satisfaction with their job choice. After all, what could be more fulfilling than helping to bring a new life into the world?
When one considers the investment in a nursing education in relation to the potential lifetime earnings of a nurse-midwife and the job prospects for the position, it is even easier to see why many people choose to attend one of the many fine nursing schools in this country. The cost for these nursing programs is paid back many times over when certified nurse-midwives work for several years in their chosen career field. This is particularly true when students choose low-cost online nursing programs such as online LPN programs and online RN programs.
The demand for nursing occupations is on the rise, and this is particularly true of the demand for certified nurse-midwives. Those who choose to pursue this career path are making a wise investment in their future, as they will enter a career field that offers both excellent financial return and a satisfying emotional return. Nursing students with a particularly strong interest in helping women and children should therefore seriously consider a career as a nurse-midwife.
For more information on nurse-midwives, what a career in midwifery entails, and much more, please visit the following midwifery and nursing resources:
- American College of Nurse-Midwives
- American Midwifery Certification Board
- American Pregnancy Association: Midwives
- California Licensed Midwives
- Certified Nurse Midwife
- Midwives Alliance of North America
- Nurse Job Profile: General and Nurse Midwives
- Nurse-Midwifery Career Overview
- Citizens for Midwifery