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Certified nurse midwives (CNMs) have fulfilling careers caring for expectant and new parents and infants. Learn about becoming a CNM and what you’ll study. This guide offers information on becoming a certified nurse midwife (CNM), program options, core coursework, and prerequisites for CNM candidates. Current and future CNM students can get an overview of what they’ll learn on their path to a nurse midwifery career.
Nurse Midwifery Curriculum Overview
Becoming a certified nurse midwife takes 6-8 years, depending on your chosen path and existing education or experience.
A graduate midwifery degree is around 60-70 credits. For instance, The Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing’s master of science in nursing (MSN) with a focus on nurse midwifery is 64 credits: 21 core credits, 28 didactic management credits, and 15 clinical credits.
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Those who are already advanced practice registered nurses and want to be CNMs can do postgraduate certificate programs, which are about 39 credits: 27 didactic credits and 12 clinical credits.
Meet a Nurse Midwife
“I enjoy caring for individuals throughout their journey — offering family planning, primary care, and even pregnancy and birth care, maintaining a healthcare relationship over time.” – Michelle Palmer, CNM
Prerequisites for Midwifery Programs
To become CNMs, prospective students have various educational paths. Common prerequisites for CNM programs include chemistry, human anatomy, physiology, biology, and microbiology.
Sociology and women’s studies courses can also prepare students for graduate-level midwifery programs, according to the American College of Nurse-Midwives.
Becoming a certified nurse midwife usually takes 6-8 years.
MSN Core Curriculum
An MSN program covers advanced nursing topics that CNM specialists combine with midwifery courses. Students in MSN programs with a midwifery focus usually take these classes:
1. Principles of Health Promotion: This class teaches using advanced practices for health promotion in individuals and populations, including client-centered care, evidence-based practices, and ethical care.
2. Advanced Pathophysiology: This course studies the causes and effects of diseases on body systems, covering functional changes and health impacts.
3. Advanced Physical Assessment: Students learn proper skills and techniques for patient exams, using the latest evidence for clinical decisions and diagnoses.
4. Epidemiology and Biostatistics: These topics provide tools to understand disease causes and find the best prevention and treatment methods.
5. Evidence-based Practice: Learners use recent research to enhance patient health and safety, cut healthcare costs, and minimize differences in patient outcomes.
Nurse Midwifery Program Curriculum
These courses are usually part of the curriculum for practicing CNMs with MSNs who aim to be board-certified nurse midwives. These classes focus on CNM specialization and help graduates pass their certification exams.
1. The Role of the Nurse Midwife in Healthcare Delivery Systems: This course covers CNM requirements, responsibilities, roles, and settings, including scope of practice and regulations.
2. Gynecologic Health: Students develop skills in clinical reasoning and management, plus basic concepts in gynecologic healthcare across lifespans, including developmental transitions, sexual functioning, and reproduction.
3. Primary Care of Women: This class addresses common women’s health issues and compares management options to empower women in their care decisions.
4. Midwifery Care During Labor and Birth: Students apply theoretical foundations, evidence, and shared decision-making to create birth plans.
5. Midwifery Care of Postpartum Women and Newborns: This course examines fetal-to-newborn transitions, exploring postpartum changes to create care plans for mothers and infants, focusing on inclusivity and equity.
6. Advanced Midwifery Care of Childbearing Women and Newborns: Learners study advanced concepts in comprehensive nurse midwifery care, including identifying and managing pregnancy and birth complications.
7. Psychiatric Mental Health Concepts for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses: In this class, students improve critical thinking and diagnostic reasoning skills through practice, focusing on cognitive, affective, and psychomotor assessments.
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