Few things in this world are more awe-inspiring than a baby entering the world and taking her first breath. As a certified nurse midwife, you will have the knowledge and skill to help mothers labor and bring their precious babies into this world. Certified nurse midwives are employed in birthing centers, physicians’ offices, and hospitals around the country. Be sure to research their scope of practice and autonomy laws in your state. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a certified nurse midwife is over $100,000, making the profession an excellent opportunity for professional and financial growth. Additionally, the CNM profession is expected to see growth at a rate higher than the national average (31%) from 2012-2022. If you’re interested in caring for pregnant mothers throughout their pregnancy, labor, and birth, as well as providing well-woman care, read on to learn how you can achieve such a rewarding career!
How to become a certified nurse midwife
Certified nurse midwives are Master’s degree-prepared nurses who have passed the American Midwifery Certification Board exam. In order to matriculate to most accredited certified nurse midwife programs, you must have your Bachelors of Science in Nursing and an unencumbered RN license. However, some programs provide a “bridge to BSN” program, so nurses with an RN but no BSN can apply to the CNM program and earn their BSN along the way. Yet another path is for individuals who have their Bachelor’s degree but no RN license; these are accelerated nursing programs in which the BSN is implied after successful completion of the program. Online programs may be a good option for you if there are no CNM programs near you. Be sure to research the admission requirements for the program or programs in which you are interested as they may vary. You may also have to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) to apply.
Once you’ve been accepted into the certified nurse midwife program, you will complete both didactic and clinical coursework. You’ll learn general gynecological care as well as the care of women with low-risk pregnancies. As a certified nurse midwife, you will be trained in birthing babies both in and out of the hospital. It is vital that you keep in contact with your preceptors and the management at your clinical sites; they will be invaluable in helping you obtain a position following graduation.
Upon graduation, you’ll be ready to sit for the American Midwifery Certification board exam. This exam will assess your knowledge of the normal and abnormal exams, labs, pharmacology, physiology, and clinical decision-making. Your program will direct you to the information and verification needed to sit for the exam. It is recommended that you take the exam as soon after graduation as possible – the longer you wait, the harder it will be to retain all the information you learned! You’ll have four attempts to pass in the two years following graduation; after this, your eligibility status will expire. The ACMB exam takes place in an assessment center. There are 175 questions on the exam; choose the best answer for each question, even if you have to guess. In your four hour time limit, you will answer questions on before, during, and after birth as well as newborn and well-women care, and women’s health primary care. An unnamed number of questions will be unscored; these are used to research future questions. Following completion of the exam, you will be provided with an official report of your score. For failed examinations, a report is provided of the raw scores for each content area to guide future study.
Once you’ve passed the American Midwifery Certification Board exam, you will be a fully-fledged certified nurse midwife ready to help mothers bring their babies into the world! Additionally, you will have a highly rewarding career providing gynecological care to healthy women. The profession of certified nurse midwifery is set to enjoy a steady rate of growth in the coming years; now is an excellent time to embark on a path towards a career as a certified nurse midwife!