A midwife by definition is a person who assists women in childbirth. A midwife is required to complete the prescribed course of studies in midwifery and to acquire the necessary training to be registered and or legally licensed to practice midwifery. She must be able to give the essential supervision, care and advice to women during pregnancy, labor and the postpartum period. The midwife conducts a delivery on her own responsibility and cares for the newborn. All nurse-midwifery programs are within institutions of higher education. Roughly 70% of nurse-midwives graduate college at the Master’s degree level. Programs for midwifery have to be accredited by the American College of Nurse-Midwives ( ACNM ) in order for graduates to be qualified to take the national certification exam. There are currently 47 ACNM accredited nurse-midwifery programs in this country. You must be a registered nurse and have at least two years of experience before you apply for nurse-midwife programs.
A midwife must be able to provide an extensive range of healthcare services to the women and their newborns. Midwife duties include history taking, physical assessment, ordering appropriate laboratory tests and procedures. The also counsel patients on health promotion and risk reduction activities. The majority of nurse-midwife practice focuses on childbirth and gynecological care, and family planning. These services are performed in cooperation with the client. Midwives also have prescriptive privileges similar to nurse practitioners. These privileges vary by state. Nurse-midwives work in collaboration with OB/GYN doctors when it comes to situations like high-risk pregnancies or other scenarios that are outside of the midwives capabilities.
As with many other professions, certified nurse midwives are regulated at two different levels. Licensure is a procedure at the state level in accordance with specific state laws. This can vary from state to state. Certification, however, is recognized by a national organization and the standards for professional practice are the same across the country. In many locales, a masters degree is necessary for national certification. Some states require that you be nationally certified to get your license. Only graduates of nurse-midwifery programs accredited by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) are qualified to take the certification examination. The American College of Nurse-Midwives Certification Council administers the certification test.
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