First-in-Iowa Nurse-Midwifery Education Program launches at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics
The new Nurse-Midwifery Education Program aims to improve access to high-quality maternal health care in Iowa.
The state’s first certified nurse-midwifery (CNM) program welcomed its inaugural class of nurse-midwifery students this week. The University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics’ Nurse-Midwifery Education Program (NMEP) aims to address a growing need for certified nurse-midwives in Iowa and nationwide to improve health care access and maternal health outcomes.
The program is one of many initiatives made possible by the Iowa Maternal Health Innovation Program, a five-year project of the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in collaboration with UI Health Care, to improve access to high-quality obstetrical care within the state, targeting underserved and rural populations.
Nurse-midwives specialize in maternal health care and childbirth, and provide preventative and gynecologic health care, including annual well-person exams, contraceptives and family planning, and menopause care.
“As a labor and delivery nurse, it’s always been a dream of mine to become a nurse-midwife. The opportunity to train right here in Iowa without having to relocate my family is so exciting,” says NMEP student Cheyenne Lowe, BSN, RN. “After I’m certified, my goal is to provide midwifery support to smaller, rural hospitals to help ease the burden felt by lack of providers in those areas.”
Nurse-midwifery education programs are in high demand
Nearly 30% of babies born at rural hospitals in the U.S. are delivered by midwives. Nurse-midwifery education programs are in high demand nationally, with thousands of qualified applicants being turned away by programs each year due to limited spots available for learners, according to the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM).
“We need to increase the number of certified nurse-midwives in the state in order to provide access to quality care for expecting mothers,” says Lastascia Coleman, CNM, ARNP, MSN, FACNM, clinical associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology-midwifery at UI Hospitals & Clinics and program director of the NMEP. “We are excited to now offer this much-needed educational program for future nurse-midwives, many of which will go on to practice in Iowa.”
The NMEP and other initiatives of the Iowa HHS Maternal Health Innovation Program were funded by a five-year, $10 million grant from Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA).