The Job of a Nurse Midwife

Midwifery is a profession within the health care industry that provides care to childbearing women during their pregnancy, birth and during the postpartum periods of approximately ten days. The term midwife literally means ‘with women’. Although most midwives are females (roughly 98%), the term does refer to both women and men working in the industry. A certified Nurse – Midwife (CNM) is an advanced practice nurse (APN) who has specialized training and education in both midwifery and nursing. There is an ever-growing demand for CNMs worldwide, so if you are interested in nursing job, this might be perfect for you.

Functions of a CNM

Certified Nurse-Midwives can serve as primary care providers for women or work closely with or in collaboration with obstetricians and gynecologists. In addition to providing care to childbearing women they can also work with patients regarding reproductive health issues, family planning, gynecological exams and menopausal care. The general role of a midwife is to help women have a natural birth experience. Midwives are specialized to recognize and deal with normal healthy pregnancies and only intervene when necessary. In contrast, an obstetrician is specialized in illnesses and surgeries related to childbirth and are taught to be actively involved with labor.

Divisions of Midwifery

There are several different categories that you may consider when looking for a job in midwifery.

  • A Certified Nurse-Midwife is one who is educated in both nursing and midwifery.
  • Direct-Entry Midwives are educated in the discipline of midwifery but have no prior nursing education
  • Certified Professional Midwifes (CPM) are skilled as professional independent midwifes and are certified with the North American Registry of Midwives. A CPM is the only USA certification that is require out of the hospital setting experience.
  • A Licensed Midwife is licensed to practice within a specific state. At this time 24 states have the license available.

Education and Expected Salary

To be a Certified Nurse-Midwife one is required to have at least a Master of Science in nursing which takes about six years to attain or a Doctorate which can take eight to ten years to complete. The American Collage of Nurse- Midwives (ACNM) offers accredited programs and serves as the national leader in this nursing specialty. Also, as of 2010 there is a new program in which you can obtain a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) that is available to those interested in directly entering the field and becoming a CNM. Additionally, all nurse midwives must also hold a current registered nurse (RN) license in the state in which they practice.

The average salary for a nurse midwife is approximately $60,000 – $85,000 a year, depending on the state you work in and level of specialty education obtained. The top 10% earn an annual income of about $100,000.

Nurse Midwife Practice

Certified Nurse-Midwives practice in hospitals, a variety of medical clinics, specifically designed birthing centers as well as at some patient’s homes. As a CNM you might have the opportunity to work in all of these settings or if you prefer a certain practice over another you can choose to focus all your work in just one practice. Nurse midwives are allowed to provide treatments, administer medications, diagnose and provide therapy to women from puberty to menopause, including delivering children in and out of hospital settings.

How to Become a Nurse Midwife

A nurse midwife can be an excellent career choice for individuals who have a strong passion to provide care to childbearing women. Not only do you need to be committed to being a nurse but will have to learn all the theories pertaining to midwifery as well. You must be patient, kind and loving toward others. A nurse midwife must be confident in their individual skills, work well under stressful situations and at times be able to make quick decisions under pressure. It is thought that worldwide more than 60% of babies are delivered to midwives.

Once you choose to be a nurse midwife you should find the best program that is offered and fits your needs, enroll and let the learning begin. Soon you’ll be helping a childbearing women bring a son or daughter into this world naturally.


Learn More: Working in Labor and Delivery