What You’ll Do as a Nurse Midwife: Read a Nurse Midwife Job Description

You’ll have your hands full in a nurse midwife career. Learn about the different tasks you’ll undertake in this demanding field.

nurse midwife job description includes monitoring expectant mothers

Midwives have existed for centuries—long before hospital care was available. Popular in other developed countries, nurse midwives first appeared in the U.S. in the 1920s. Even with technological advances, the nurse-midwife profession continues to thrive today. Rooted in the belief that women should have a supportive environment during and after their pregnancy, nurse-midwifery promotes traditional births for low-risk pregnancies. Read what you’ll do in our nurse midwife job description.

Your desire to care for others and promote women and infant health are two of the necessary qualities for a successful career as a nurse midwife. Your expertise will give patients the education to make the right decisions for themselves and their baby.

What does a nurse midwife do?

A nurse midwife typically works in hospitals, private practices, birthing centers, health maintenance organizations and health departments. You’ll want to consider your personal needs and preferences (Do you want regular hours? Are you interested in working on your own?) to decide what type of establishment you’ll want to work in.

Several types of midwives exist. The main distinction is the education path you can take to become a nurse midwife. Find out more about the different nursing and midwife programs on the degrees page.

  • Certified Midwife (CM): Have a health-related background (physician assistant, etc.), but are not registered nurses. Licensed to practice in just a few states.
  • Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM): Registered nurses who graduated from an accredited nurse-midwifery program.
  • Direct-Entry Midwife (DEM): Received a midwifery education, but earned a bachelor’s degree in a non-related field.

On the job, nurse midwives:

  • Stay by a soon-to-be-mother’s side through the labor and childbirth process
  • Look for complications or situations where a medical doctor is required
  • Educate women on birth options and their unique health issues
  • Prepare a mother for what’s to come during labor, childbirth and postpartum
  • Teach a mother how to breastfeed and care for their infant

What education or certification will I need to become a nurse midwife?

You’ll need to devote a decent amount of time to becoming a nurse midwife, but online and on-campus options are both available. In order to practice, a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is required. Depending on your current educational and health care background, there are a few different routes you can take to earn an MSN.

When you begin searching for nurse midwife program, consider the courses offered, how long it will take and the experience level you will need. Other considerations are job placement services and financial aid.

Once you complete your education, you’ll need to pass the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) exam to become certified to practice as a nurse-midwife.

What career paths can I take in nurse midwifery?

Nurse-midwives are most commonly associated with providing care before, during and after childbirth. However, nurse midwives are also considered primary care providers for women throughout their lifespan, not just during pregnancy. This means they can conduct physical exams, order and review tests, prescribe medication and other medical functions. They’ve become popular since they can perform many of the same tasks as a physician.

Nurse midwives can also head down another career path. If you’re interested in education or public policy, there are degree programs which will guide you in that direction.

If you’re interested in providing a supportive environment for women and their families, becoming a nurse midwife may be for you.

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