a difficult choice

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    I spent 7 years as a direct entry midwife and then chose to go to nursing school. At the time I was emotionally/psychologically walking away from midwifery. I really like surgery and I'm considering CRNA.

    However, every nurse, every 'old' friend I know tells me I have the personality for midwifery and that I should pursue CNM instead. I won't lie - it's my first love and I could slip back into it, I think.

    The other issue is that my spouse refuses to relocate, so I'm in the DC area and there doesn't seem to be a lot of CNM positions available. I guess, to pursue due diligence, I'm looking about to see what job opportunities there are for CNMs in the southern MD, Norther, VA and DC area. Several of my professors have said this isn't a good area for CNMs.

    Thoughts?
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    I never completed my CPM, but I did apprentice in OOH birth for a few years. I have since become an RN and am working in L&D and maternity.

    First of all - one of the things I LOVE about nursing is the options and opportunities available nurses. This kind of flexibility with career options does not exist in the OOH midwifery model.

    One of the hardest things about 'having the heart of a midwife' and working in OB/GYN practices (even OB/GYN practices with CNMs) is that .... oh .... so much of the 'heart of midwifery' is sucked out of it. I struggle with the kind of care I participate in providing. There are days where I feel like I make a different to an individual patient. But there are other days where I feel like a very tiny cog in a big huge baby-birthing industry.

    If you love the OR -and want to become a CRNA, woot woot! I say go for it! I have a few friends who are very happy as CRNAs. I also enjoy the CRNAs whom I work with. Great people. Love having a compassionate CRNA during unplanned c-sections.

    I guess you have to ask yourself if you will ever feel the draw back to midwifery - I completely know what you are talking about when you say you were 'psychologically/emotionally walking away from it.' But it sounds like maybe you still want that.

    I go back and forth about completing my CNM - the reality of how CNMs practice among obstetricians is hitting me pretty hard -and I try to envision a way I could practice nurse-midwifery, get paid a reasonable wage, and not be on call 24/7/365. This might be a position I have to invent for myself - instead of getting hired into an existing practice. Is this something you've considered?
    MeiLana likes this.
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    I really appreciate your advice on it and so sorry to take so long to respond. Georgetown called me back last week after I (once again) queried about it. I think my leaning heavily towards CRNA, though, the more I hear that CNM has the hours, demands, lack of respect/pay that pretty much a DEM had, just with more accountability/licensure. I don't want to be a cog in the machine.
  6. 1
    Quote from queenanneslace

    One of the hardest things about 'having the heart of a midwife' and working in OB/GYN practices (even OB/GYN practices with CNMs) is that .... oh .... so much of the 'heart of midwifery' is sucked out of it. I struggle with the kind of care I participate in providing. There are days where I feel like I make a different to an individual patient. But there are other days where I feel like a very tiny cog in a big huge baby-birthing industry.
    OMG, so much this. I have been a CPM since 2006 and will be graduating from CNM school (knock on wood) next May. This is a real and ongoing struggle for midwives who work in mainstream obstetrics. I am also an LDRP nurse in a tiny community hospital with terrible, backwards protocols and I *hate* being complicit in care that I feel is directly HARMFUL to the wellbeing of mothers and infants.

    BUT! I am doing my integration at a hospital with a birthing unit that is entirely run by midwives. They set the protocols and see ALL the patients- the physicians are only involved when medically necessary. Their epidural rate is below 60% (amazing for a hospital), they do uninterrupted skin to skin for at least one hour, delayed cord clamping, waterbirths, etc. The rooms are set up to encourage women to move and stay out of bed, and all the nurses are on board with this model of care.

    So it is possible to practice real midwifery in a hospital setting, it really is.

    Midwifery has always been my profession. Even when I was burnt out from the 24/7 lifestyle of OOH midwifery, I knew I needed to stay in the field. What drove me back for my CNM was, first and foremost, a better income potential. CPMs make a shameful salary. SHAMEFUL. The other major factor was that when I lived in FL, I was able to accept medicaid reimbursement. CPMs in my current state are not regulated and can't get insurance/medicaid reimbursement, and IMO the women who have the wherewithall to seek out OOH midwives and who can afford to pay out of pocket for a homebirth are often NOT the women who could benefit most from midwifery care.

    As a student CNM, I get to take care of women inmates, women who have substance abuse issues, and women who come from all socioeconomic backgrounds. Also, as a CNM I can provide a level of GYN care that I was not qualified to do as a CPM. I ADORE GYN. Love it. I have aspirations to provide expanded sexual/reproductive health services someday too, including abortion services when the silly physician-only laws inevitably get changed.

    I still keep my CPM certification and probably always will. But I am glad I went back for my CNM. I think if you truly feel that midwifery is your profession, it is a good career choice. Even if you don't want to go on catching babies, there is so much more to midwifery than that.
    queenanneslace likes this.


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