We are fortunate to have caring, dedicated health care professionals who consider it a privilege to take care of you. Our Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM’s) (www.regionalmidwifery.com) are an important part of this team. They attend births, provide prenatal and postpartum care, perform annual exams, conduct family planning visits and routine well-woman care throughout the lifespan. They also provide lactation visits and breastfeeding support for our families. Our midwives also conduct Centering Pregnancy ® classes and provide breastfeeding support for our moms.
Have you ever wondered what training is needed to become a Certified Nurse Midwife?
The journey requires years of diligent study and experience, first as an RN, and then in a graduate midwifery program.
What training is needed to be a midwife?
The Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME) has approved 40 U.S. midwifery programs. All programs offer the core curriculum necessary, even though each program may have different admission requirements and variations on pathways and degrees. (American College of Nurse Midwives.)
All midwifery educational programs involve some type of graduate education. While most require at least a bachelor’s degree in order to be admitted, there are some programs who will accept RNs who do not yet have a bachelor’s degree, with the condition that they complete one before they begin the midwifery portion of their program.
Depending upon the requirements of an individual program, you don’t have to be an RN, as long as you have a bachelor’s degree. However, if this is the case, you will need to take accelerated nursing classes as well as basic health and science courses before applying.
Midwifery programs range from three to four years long, depending upon whether it’s attended full-time or part-time. The focus is on both academic coursework and clinical rotations. (Midwife Schooling).
The academic coursework focuses closely on core studies in:
- Health assessments
- Pharmacology, which centers on the uses and effects of medications
- Pathophysiology, which deals with the causes and effects of diseases or injuries
- Perinatal care
- Caring for the newborn
- Postpartum care
- Primary care for women, including annual exams and education
The coursework is also combined with clinical requirements, which typically include between 500 and 1,000 hours during which students work under the supervision of health care providers and other Certified Nurse Midwives.
Once studies are completed, students have to pass a national certification exam, which is administered by the American Midwifery Certification Board. In order to maintain active certification, one must participate in the certificate maintenance program.
The career outlook for midwives is positive. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the profession is supposed to grow by 31 percent by 2026. This is much faster than the average for other jobs.
Midwifery: not just a career, but a calling
For those who choose the profession, it is a rewarding and challenging career.
Leigh Ann Joel, one of our midwives, knew from a young age that midwifery was in her future. She said:
I knew when I was nine years old that I wanted to deliver babies when I grew up. I believe being a midwife is much more than a career—it’s a calling. The most rewarding aspect of my job is connecting with women and their families and guiding them through the process of pregnancy and birth. I love to see the strength that comes from education, and taking time to answer questions and address concerns. If you listen, women tell you what they need.
For Cara Wolf, another one of our midwives, the journey into midwifery came while working as a labor and delivery nurse. She said:
I worked for many years as a labor and delivery nurse in Anchorage, AK. It was during this time I learned/witnessed how amazing nurse midwives are in caring for women during labor. It became my passion to learn and grow as a provider so that more women would have the opportunity to benefit from midwifery care.
All of our midwives came to us with a similar sense of passion and a powerful spirit of dedication that has made them an important part of our patients’ lives:
- Mary Ellen Lowry was the first certified nurse midwife with Regional Midwifery/Women’s Health Alliance.
- Amy Ellis Dixon was a labor and delivery nurse at Duke University Medical Center before getting her midwifery degree from East Carolina University.
- Anne Vierela has had the privilege of attending more than 2,000 births to date.
- Stacie Diette was named the Best Nurse Midwife in Orange/Chatham/Wake County by Indy Week.
You can learn more about our nurse midwives by reading our Meet Our Nurse Midwives entry.
Do you have a passion to help mothers? Are you dedicated to providing quality health care and education to women? Perhaps a career as a nurse midwife is your calling.
A dedication to excellence, a heart of compassion
We are proud of our team! Our goal is to provide a personalized experience centered around the needs of you and your family. Our nurses, midwives and physicians are available to provide extensive resources and hope to make each patient feel welcomed to the practice.
For more than 40 years, Chapel Hill OBGYN has served women in the Triangle area, sharing the joy of little miracles and supporting them during challenges. Our board-certified physicians and certified nurse midwives bring together the personal experience and convenience of a private practice with the state-of-the-art resources found at larger organizations. To schedule an appointment, please contact us for more information.
American College of Midwives. “Become a Midwife.” Online.
Midwives of North Carolina (an affiliate of the American College of Midwives.) “Become a Midwife.” Online.