The Best Path to CNM?

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    Hello! I am hoping for some feedback and/or opinions, or personal stories of the best path to CNM.

    I guess, I will start with my background. I'm in my early 30's and I've taken college courses on and off here and there during my adult years, but I never knew "what I wanted to be when I grew up." I had a lot of interests and I dabbled in a few different areas.

    The process and options of birth became forefront on my brain when I became pregnant with my first child back in 2008. Shortly after she was born I became involved in a local non-profit evidence-based care birth advocacy group. I was planning a homebirth with my second child in 2010, but I developed pre-ecplampsia early in my third tri-mester and was put on hospital bedrest. My pre-eclampsia ended up turning to severe pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome and I had to have my son at 33 weeks. He's a champ now. :-)

    Anyway, in the background of having my children, I also left my abusive husband when I was pregnant with our second. After my son's birth is when I began rebuilding myself and my self-esteem, and I finally went back to taking college classes again last year. My ex would not let me attend classes while we were married.

    In the past year it really hit me how much I wanted to be a midwife. I have been involved in the birth community by advocacy and various fundraising and awareness events. And after my son's birth I knew one day I had really wanted to become a doula, especially to be a support person to single moms, and/or moms facing high risk pregnancies.

    I had taken many career tests, still tryign to figure out what degree I was working towards, and midwife or nurse came up often. But I had still doubted myself. Well, after getting my back bone again and getting a few A's in school, I realized I could do anything I put my mind to doing. I realized if money and time were of no importance, my answer remained the same, I'd want to be a midwife and I'd love to open a birth center.

    So here I am. Working on my pre-reqs to get into nursing school. I have done a lot of research and talked to various advisors and what I'm currently doing is working on my prereqs and gen ed studies at the local community college, and then I plan on transferring to a University to complete a BSN. After that, I hope to get into the midwifery program at the University of PA.

    Currently, I work a full time job in a non-health related field. It's a decent enough paycheck to take care of my children. I plan on leaving my job once I'm accepted into a nursing program and then I will attend school full time.

    I have been working on my doula certification this year, but I have not had any clients yet. I am working on finding one or two for the summer, and I can likely take one in the fall, but I won't be taking any in the spring as I'm set to take A&P I then.

    I guess, I'm wondering how much of a detriment will it be to me that I will not have any job experience in the health field? I looked at the CNA option for the next couple of years before I'm ready to go to full time school, and it would be too much of a pay cut for me to manage that. I will be able to do the full time student thing in a couple of years due to being able to save money and tax returns for that time.

    I'm worried I won't be able to get much doula experience either because I don't want to take on clients during the tough courses, as I know how imporant it is to do well in them and not miss lecture or lab.

    Any, ideas I may be missing, or if anyone else has done well getting into nursing school without a health background, please share. Thank you for your time of getting through all of this.
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  3. 3 Comments so far...

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    Hi there,

    I'm a CNM student who will be graduating this May. I decided I wanted to be a midwife in high school, so I went the traditional 4 year BSN route for my first degree. I worked for a year, then started back to school for my master's while continuing to work full-time, then cut down to part-time when I actually started midwifery clinicals, and am now just per diem for my final semester, as I am paired one-on-one with a homebirth midwife.

    However, my experience is outside of the norm in midwifery---most people enter into it as a second career. Most of those people also don't have a health background. I don't think it will hurt you at all getting into nursing school (not that you might not have to wait to get into a nursing program these days with so many people going back to school to become RNs, but I don't think it will hinder your application). I agree that it's tough to get certified as a doula while in school or working---I wanted to do it too, but it's hard to find a time in life when we can be on call 24/7 with no other obligations.

    I think once you become a nurse, you would do well to seek out some additional education to beef up your resume for midwifery school. Even though I couldn't get the births required to get doula certified, I attended a 2 day workshop for doula training, where I learned a lot of great hands-on skills to help moms in labor. I also became a certified lactation counselor, which was a huge help in my nursing practice and I know it will be in my midwifery practice as well. Your involvement in your local birth community with advocacy can only help you also.

    In short, I think if you decide to embark upon this path, you will be fine. I can't promise it will be easy, but I think you have as good a background as anyone else to approach this career. Hope that helps.
    BrittK likes this.
  5. 1
    I've met lots of midwives who've gone into midwifery without any prior work in health care.

    It's hard to balance doula work and any sort of schedule... since doula work requires you to be on call. But if you can do it during a break or summer months, it will be great experience. Lactation counseling training is good, too.

    I love the variety of backgrounds that different CNMs have. Don't let your non-healthcare background stop you from doing what you want to do!
    phoenixnim likes this.
  6. 0
    Thank you! I have mapped out a possible course schedule that does allow some summers/months open for doula work. I'm also hoping to work with a local homebirth DEM, and assist her, during a time that I have a gap for waiting for a program start date.

    I have started coming across more and more CNM's who changed careers in their 30's. So that is very reassuring to me. :-)


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