Midwifery is just one of the many careers in the field of nursing, and it is a challenging yet rewarding position. If you are considering becoming one, or are already a practicing RN wanting to specialize, here are some basic pieces of information about midwifery.
What do midwives do?
Midwifery is the health and science profession surrounding childbirth, pregnancy, and the postpartum period. Midwives also assist with primary care for women, including sexual and reproductive health, gynecology, and family planning. There are different types of midwives with different levels of licensure and qualifications. The highest level of a midwife is a Certified Nurse Midwife. CNMs are qualified to work in all birth settings, such as homes or hospitals, and can write prescriptions in every state in the US.
A brief history
For hundreds of years, women have been assisting other women during childbirth, but it was not until 1716 that New York started to require licensing of midwives. Formal education began in 1765, however as many women were not literate, this made it very difficult. Furthermore, midwives considered childbirth the domain of women, and so we’re reluctant to be trained by male doctors.
Middle-class families would use doctors to assist in childbirth, with midwives being used by those who could not afford a doctor. The use of midwives rose again in the 1970s with the feminist movements, the reclamation of women’s bodies, and the message that childbirth is natural. Today, there is evidence to suggest that the use of midwives is becoming more common, due to their more personal approach to childbirth and pregnancy as a natural part of life, instead of a medical issue that needs to be managed. There are also generally more female midwives than there are male, but anyone can become a midwife, regardless of their gender.
The official accrediting body for CNM education programs is the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME), which ensure that midwifery education is delivered to the highest degree and complies with strict standards. Midwives work alongside obstetricians to provide the best care during all aspects of pregnancy.
How to become a midwife
A midwifery course is the best way to become a nurse-midwife. This is a DNP, (Doctor of Nursing Practice) and is for registered nurses who have a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in nursing. A DNP is one of the two Doctorate degrees that can be studied for in nursing in the USA. There are two study options; post-master’s and BSN-DNP. The former is for registered nurses who already have a Master’s degree in nursing, and the Baylor University course takes around two years to complete.
A BSN to DNP is for registered nurses who have a Bachelors’s degree in nursing, and this course takes just over three years from Baylor University. In this course, students study for a Master’s and a Doctorate.
Some of the course is studied online, which is a great way to further your education and qualifications whilst also maintaining your existing commitments. Many of these courses are designed for nurses who are already working so that they can study and continue to work at the same time. There are placements and in-person teaching as well, to allow you to implement your training practically.
Furthermore, the midwifery DNP from BU does not require a GRE or GMAT, which saves you time and expense. The GRE is the Graduate Record Examination that many graduate schools require as part of the admissions process. The GMAT is the Graduate Management Admission Test and can cost just under $300.
There are plenty of benefits to studying for a Midwifery DNP online. The course at BU is designed for actively practicing RNs so that you can work and study at the same time. Online study also comes with challenges that can help to develop your soft skills. These are non-technical skills that can boost your performance in the workplace. They include skills such as motivation, time management, adaptability, and problem-solving. You will most likely have many of these skills already, but studying from home can help you develop them further.
It is often easy to get distracted when learning online, so it’s important to keep your goals in mind and stay motivated in order to complete your course. Keeping organized and managing your time will help you immensely when it comes to balancing study and work. Breaking tasks down can make them seem more manageable, and you can easily see what work you need to complete.
Is it for you?
As well as the technical skills and knowledge involved, there are many important traits that are required to pursue a career in midwifery. Here are just a few:
Communication- Communicating with your team and your patients effectively, and having the ability and knowledge to answer their questions is very important. Often in medical settings, the terminology used is very specialist, and the patient may not understand. Being able to clearly explain to them what is happening, as well as being the first port of call for any questions they may have, is very beneficial.
Teamwork- You will be liaising with many other professionals such as doctors or social workers, so you need to be able to work well as part of a team.
The ability to deal with emotional situations- Having compassion and being able to keep a patient as calm and comfortable as possible at all times is also vital.
Becoming a midwife is rigorous and challenging, but it is also a very rewarding career. You could work in a variety of settings, helping many different people with all aspects of pregnancy and childbirth. Midwives also provide care to people without babies, as reproductive health and gynecological services are also a large part of their work. There are many requirements and qualifications you will need to become a midwife, so it is important to plan your career journey and research what you need to do in order to follow your passion.
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