A midwife provides primary care to women before, during, and after childbirth.
This section will focus on certified nurse midwives (CMNs), who are nurses specially trained and certified to treat women during child birth. Although there are is also a new crop of healthcare providers known as certified midwives (CM’s), who are not registered nurses, these are currently less common. You can find out more about the difference between CNMs and CMs at www.midwife.org, the website of the American College of Nurse Midwives.
Job Description: A Day in the Life of a Certified Nurse Midwife
A certified nurse midwife deals with many aspects of prenatal and neonatal care, in addition to helping during the birth process. Average work of a CMN might include administering gynaecological exams, providing family planning advice, and assisting patients throughout labor and delivery. While CMNs generally work regular hours, they often have to be on call in case of an emergency, or if a patient goes into labor.
General Requirements and Training
The requirements to become a CMN are a little more stringent than those required to become a registered nurse. Those hoping to become a CMN must complete a bachelor’s degree, preferably in a science or health-related field, as well as a master’s degree. In most cases, the masters program takes two years of full-time study to complete. After completing their education, most CMNs become certified in their specialty, although this is not required to practice in every state.
Salary, Benefits, and Opportunities for Advancement
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of a registered nurse is $62,450, as of May 2008. Salary.com reports that the mid-50% earnings range of a certified nurse midwife is $81,911 to $96,514.
According to Payscale.com, a certified nurse midwife with one to four years of experience earns an average of $65,314 to $80,100, while one with twenty or more years of experience can expect $73,984 to $93,294.
The demand for qualified CMNs is projected to increase in coming years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, especially in inner-city and rural areas where appropriate medical care is often lacking.