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Certified Nurse Midwife: A Career Overview
- A certified nurse midwife is one of many professionals involved in women’s healthcare, as well as pre and postnatal care.
- Certified nurse midwives are trained registered nurses who complete additional training specific to women’s care, and all things pregnancy and babies.
- Let’s break it down and cover everything you should know about being a certified nurse midwife!
MPH, MSN, WHNP-BC
You’re here because you’re wondering what a certified nurse midwife is!
A certified nurse midwife (CNM) is a type of advanced practice registered nurse who specializes in the comprehensive care of women throughout their lifespan.
Advance practice registered nurses are also known as clinicians.
When I first started to read about nursing and learned about what a certified nurse midwife is I wondered about the differences between midwives and other nursing professions.
Navigating health care as a patient and navigating healthcare paths are both complicated. Whether you are curious about entering the nursing profession or wondering who took care of you at your last visit, this post is for you!
Education of a Certified Nurse Midwife
CNMs are a type of nurse practitioner with training and education in women’s health and midwifery. Midwifery is the care for new mothers and newborns. CNMs have a graduate-level degree in nurse midwifery.
Some CNMs work as registered nurses before going back to school. Other CNMs might have entered the nurse midwifery profession via an accelerated or direct entry nursing program.
Salary of a Certified Nurse Midwife
Salary varies by state and place of employment, such as a hospital or private practice. Typically, hospitals pay more than private practices, and CNMs with more experience have a higher salary than recent graduates.
According to Salary.com, the average salary for a certified nurse midwife is $115,000. Note that this average varies depending on experience, location, and place of work.
Where Does a Certified Nurse Midwife Work?
CNMs can work in many places, such as:
- OB/GYN offices
- Public health departments
- Fertility clinics
- Pharmaceutical companies
- Telehealth start-ups
- Correctional facilities
- Clinical research facilities
- Birthing centers
- Community health centers, and more.
Certified nurse midwives can also specialize in midwifery consulting, serve as sexual assault nurse examiners, or teach at nursing schools.
Scope of Practice of a Certified Nurse Midwife
Certified nurse midwives can see women, adolescent, and gender expansive people for reproductive and sexual health concerns.
Common certified nurse midwife duties include:
- Performing well-women or annual exams
- Provide prenatal care
- Care for newborns during the first 28 days of life
- Counsel on pregnancy options
- Handle labor and delivery
- Assist during cesarean sections
- Assess patients postpartum
- Discuss contraception options
- Conduct STI testing
- Offer referrals for specialty care
- Work in collaboration with other clinicians
- Support expecting mothers
- and of course, educate patients as needed.
This is just a sample of what CNMs can do! The scope of work for a CNM strongly depends on their training, local boards of nursing, workplace practices, and local legislation.
Differences Between Certified Nurse Midwife and Other Professions
There are several nurse practitioner specialties, such as pediatrics, emergency medicine, and psychiatry. CNMs focus specifically with women, their pregnancies, and births. While other nurse practitioners can see pregnant patients, CNMs see their patients throughout the pregnancy until delivery and postpartum.
A certified nurse midwife might also see patients for health concerns related to menopause, sexual health, and similar women’s health topics. But, birth is something close to every midwife’s heart.
What’s the difference between being a certified nurse midwife (CNM), certified midwife (CM), or certified professional midwife (CPM)? Those acronyms can be confusing!
It is important to note that CNMs are trained in nursing schools in America and approach midwifery with a nursing lens. For a full breakdown between the types of midwives in America, view this chart from American College of Nurse-Midwives
The Bottom Line
If one is thinking about becoming a certified nurse midwife or learning more about the profession, I would recommend looking into the American College of Nurse-Midwives and the National Association of Practitioners in Women’s Health.
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