Frequently Asked Questions about the Nurse-Midwifery Education Program
Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNM) are educated in graduate-level midwifery programs accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME). CNMs pass a national certification exam administered by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) to receive the professional designation of CNM (if they have an active RN at the time of the certification exam).
Midwifery is practiced by certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) and certified midwives (CM) encompasses a full range of primary health care services for women from adolescence beyond menopause. These services include the independent provision of primary care, gynecologic and family planning services, preconception care, care during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period, care of the normal newborn during the first 28 days of life, and treatment of male partners for sexually transmitted infections.
Midwives provide initial and ongoing comprehensive assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. They conduct physical examinations; prescribe medications including controlled substances and contraceptive methods; admit, manage, and discharge patients; order and interpret laboratory and diagnostic tests and order the use of medical devices. Midwifery care also includes health promotion, disease prevention, and individualized wellness education and counseling. These services are provided in partnership with women and families in diverse settings as ambulatory care clinics, private offices, community and public health systems, homes, hospitals, and birth centers.
This information comes from the ACNM Standard Setting Document “Definition of Midwifery and Scope of Practice of Certified Nurse-Midwives and Certified Midwives” (2021). For full text, please see here.
Becoming a nurse is required. One option is to attend a two-year nursing program, either an associate's degree program or one of the many second bachelor's degree programs, and then attend one of the accredited midwifery/nurse-midwifery education programs.
All American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) accredited nurse-midwifery programs require a bachelor's degree.
You need to be a nurse and you need to have a bachelor’s degree, but that degree does not need to be in nursing.
Individuals who are registered nurses, but do not have a bachelor's degree, may become certified nurse-midwives by completing either a BSN or a bachelor's in another field, then attending an accredited nurse-midwifery education programs such as the Nurse-Midwifery Education Program at UI Hospitals & Clinics. Some accredited midwifery/nurse-midwifery programs are in schools of nursing that offer bridge programs to facilitate progression through the bachelor's degree in nursing to midwifery and the master's degree.
Candidates who do not have labor and delivery experience but who are otherwise qualified must complete either a childbirth education course or doula training.
In addition, many students have found it useful to complete a basic and/or intermediate fetal monitoring course, spend time observing a midwife in practice, and shadow a midwife or nurse in the labor and delivery setting.