Certified nurse-midwife

From WikiMD's Wellness Encyclopedia

Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) is a healthcare profession within the field of nursing and midwifery that focuses on providing care to women across their lifespan, including pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum period, and gynecological and reproductive health. CNMs are registered nurses (RNs) who have completed advanced graduate education and have passed a national certification exam to become certified in midwifery. They are trained to provide a broad range of healthcare services for women from adolescence through menopause, including primary care, gynecologic and family planning services, preconception care, care during pregnancy and childbirth, and care of the newborn.

Scope of Practice[edit | edit source]

The scope of practice for CNMs includes the provision of prenatal care, assistance during labor and delivery, postpartum care, newborn care, family planning, and gynecological exams. They are also trained to recognize and manage complications in women and newborns and to provide emergency care when necessary. CNMs practice in a variety of settings, including hospitals, private practices, birth centers, and homes. They often work in collaboration with obstetricians, pediatricians, and other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive care to women and their families.

Education and Certification[edit | edit source]

To become a CNM, one must first obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to become a registered nurse. Following this, the candidate must complete a graduate program in midwifery accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME). After completing the graduate program, candidates are eligible to take the national certification exam administered by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) to become a certified nurse-midwife.

History[edit | edit source]

The profession of nurse-midwifery in the United States has its roots in the early 20th century, with the establishment of the first nurse-midwifery education program at the Maternity Center Association in New York City in 1932. The profession has evolved significantly over the decades, with CNMs gaining legal recognition and prescriptive authority in all 50 states. The role of CNMs continues to expand in response to the healthcare needs of women and the healthcare system.

Legal Status and Prescriptive Authority[edit | edit source]

The legal status and prescriptive authority of CNMs vary by state. In some states, CNMs are required to have a collaborative agreement with a physician, while in others, they can practice independently. CNMs have prescriptive authority in all 50 states, allowing them to prescribe a range of medications, including controlled substances.

Professional Organizations[edit | edit source]

Several professional organizations support CNMs, including the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), which is the professional association for CNMs and Certified Midwives (CMs) in the United States. The ACNM provides resources, advocacy, and continuing education opportunities for its members.

Challenges and Opportunities[edit | edit source]

The CNM profession faces several challenges, including varying state laws and regulations, access to clinical training sites, and public awareness and understanding of the role of CNMs. However, there are also significant opportunities for growth and development, particularly in addressing healthcare disparities and increasing access to high-quality, evidence-based care for women and families.


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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD