Certain about midwifery, uncertain about nursing - page 3

by lilacs101 9,166 Views | 31 Comments

Hi all, I'm around 30 years old and making a career change into midwifery. I realized that I was very unhappy at a sedentary, desk-based job working on conceptual issues. I have always been very interested in women's issues... Read More


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    Quote from lilacs101

    i considered some of the certified midwife (cm) programs in ny/ nj/ pa. these programs are accredited through acme, the accreditation arm of acnm. so, yes, it's possible to become a midwife without becoming a nurse in a way that's sanctioned by the american college of nurse-midwives.

    you're right, and i didn't even think to get into that particular path toward midwifery!

    so i've made my decision (to get a bsn, then work for a year), and i need to find peace with it.

    i'm glad

    i have both nurses and midwives in my family and circle of friends. i know what they face on a daily basis. not a career change to be taken lightly.
    very, very true. i hope your journey towards midwifery is a happy one.
  2. 1
    just going to chime in here - I worked with homebirth midwives for years off and on as I was pursuing CPM licensure before going to nursing school (I was about complete with that route when family issues meant I needed to go back to work full time). I graduated recently from an ADN program and now work in L&D, and hope to put in a couple of years before moving forward to a CNM program. Absolutely everything is valid that I learned in nursing school as an L&D nurse and as a midwife. I just kept constantly thinking about how I could apply x thing that I was learning to midwifery. Nursing is not the medical model, as mentioned before. It is the nursing model. And once I moved on to nursing school- definitely not rote memorization (like anatomy) but lots of concepts and critical thinking.

    There are days (weeks -- semesters, maybe) that I was stressed to my eyeballs in nursing school. I did my fair share of crying. But I also turned into a nurse. And I identify as a nurse. There are days that I am absolutely overwhelmed at work, as an orienting new grad L&D nurse, and days that are great. The amount of charting sucks. There are days when I am completely frustrated with the medical model of childbirth (especially coming from the "other" side!). But above all, I love being a nurse and patient advocate. And OBs, at least at my facility, work well with the nurses - we have a great relationship because they know how much they depend on us.
    Quark09 likes this.
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    OP, many have advised you on your RN year.... but here is some advice for your BSN year.......There is acceptance and coping necessary for that year too, and here is how I'm surviving it:

    The SUNY accelerated BSN program you are considering will go very fast. It will have happy moments that you can see your future in -- your first newborn assessment -- but it promises angry/bored/frustrated/strained times too.

    If your experience is anything like mine, you will find wonderful faculty in the midst of a program that is - as you said - memorization (or worse, multiple choice recognition) being sold to you as critical thinking. You will find some faculty that annoy you - but you'll realize that they are actually great people, it's just hard to tell when they are standing in front of awful powerpoints all the time!

    Don't let the powerpoints disillusion you.

    Consider these spoon-feeding-esque lectures the clear liquid diet phase of hospital food post surgery - barely palatable, unavoidable, and best not argued with.

    When you think you can't take another word-laden powerpoint slide, in the fall, you will begin to drive all over CNY to get your clinical hours. Fear not, you will continue to sit endlessly in large lecture halls in the evening. It will be more painful than the summer, but less memorable because you will be far too tired to process. Your butt will hurt so much from said sitting it may have pressure ulcers - but you'll know how to stage those pressure ulcers!

    No program is perfect. The faculty are trying hard to give us a great experience in one short year. There is some ridiculousness and much disorder - but - at the end of the day I try and be appreciative for what the faculty does for us. They care, even if some can't teach, they care, and that says a lot.

    I don't condone the crappy parts of the program - but I truly believe they have a special collection of teachers. This program has been criticized on All Nurses before - it's not for everyone - but if you go, try and see the good.

    Also, despite it being a year about nursing not midwifery, the faculty are very pro-midwifery - and there are many midwives on staff to inspire and guide you. But, this would be my advice: Try and let yourself indulge in the nursing school experience from general interest perspective.

    Pretend you are an anthropologist and try it all to really see whats its about, analyze it for the sake of entertaining yourself. Give yourself the freedom to hate some of the ideas and to love some, and then you'll actually gain something more meaningful than the requisite BSN for your midwifery application.

    I promise, there are building blocks in a BSN to make you a great CNM. Even when it seems tedious, there is a lesson to be learned...somewhere. There are also things you'll learn that you'll want to reject - great - avoid the memorization game and think about why you are opposed to part of the nursing model, process, or culture. Articulate yourself, and figure out ways to build something better.

    There is so much to do in so little time if you think of it that way!

    And while I'm at it...accept now that you'll learn lots for the NCLEX that you'll forget down the road as a midwife. You'll learn to pick a faulty answer because its the 'best answer', and you'll be angry that 'best answer' seems to be scapegoat for 'crappy question'

    But the process of learning and forgetting is part of every certification, and part of every path to specialization. Think of all the Psych NPs, or Peds NPs, or any specialist... will forget. But also think of all they will remember....Interventions, Medications, Suggestions, Lifestyle Choices, Diets....it all connects, it connects in life and it connects in child-bearing years no differently. You know that. And so some themes, philosophies, and of course pathophysiology will become a part of you and your thinking -- part of you as an RN and part of you as a CNM. You'll keep the good and weed out the bad.

    Your BSN may indeed feel frustrating when you are trying to be marching towards your midwifery goals at steady pace. Don't worry - no matter how frustrated you feel, you will be too tired to dwell much on it. It is a whirlwind year, with too little time to get upset.

    You sound passionate about what you want to do. Don't lose that, it's admirable. Don't let anyone make you feel bad about having goals. Not desiring bedside nursing is a personal choice. There are many ways to establish your RN street cred. - home nursing, clinics, etc...you'll find what works for you. Your BSN will help you filter through these options, there are more options than you may event think
    gurlofGod95 likes this.
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    Check out Frontier School of Midwifery. Entire program is $29,700. East Carolina University (ECU) is about the same price. Both are completely on line. I will probably attend ECU when it's time for me to become a CNM because I live in NC and for me its half the price of Frontier.
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    BTW, look at Excelsior College for a BSN as well. Because you already ahve a Bachelor's degree you should be able to finish fairly quickly. It's approximately 8 nursing classes - half of which they have exams for. I calculated the price to be about $7600 not including books. Located in Albany, New York. No residency requirements, and completely online. NLNAC accredited. www.excelsior.edu
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    mya612- I plan to attend ECU as well, but I thought their website said that you have to spend 9 days on campus throughout the program for working with standardized patients and practicing physical assessments. This won't be a problem for us in NC, but I imagine it wouldn't be great for someone that lives far away. Are you already a nurse?
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    New York, New Jersy and Rhode Island have Certified Midwives that take the same board as CNMs but are not nurses. The USVI allows RNs who are CPMs (certified Professional Midwives) to have nurse midwifery credentials without passing the CNM/CM boards. There are options out there....feel free to contact me privately to discuss education and certification options. New Mexico licenses directenty midwives and gives them limited prescriptive privilege so that may be an accessible option to you. In Oregon any licensure ias a direct entry midwife is optional so the field is wide open and underqulified.
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    Hi Lilacs,

    I was exactly in your place about a year ago when I was deciding where to go for school. I come from a liberal arts (anthropology and women's studies) background and am very opposed to the medical model of care on most fronts. I was really nervous to start school (first year, or pre-specialty) at Seattle U, and was convinced I was going to absolutely suffer through the first year. We started this summer, and I have to say, I am having a BLAST! It's incredibly hard work, but I really had no idea what nursing philosophy really meant, and how different it really is from the medical model.

    I was so impressed, and pleasantly surprised to learn about the role of nurses as advocates for their patients and being supportive of holistic and alternative therapies while incorporating the whole family. I'm totally behind Nate with the sentiments above, and I have found that even when we were studying heavy pharmacology and pathophysiology, it was so nice to have my other midwifery students with me to deconstruct some of the more "medical" things we were learning.

    I went through this whole process of choosing an ABSN program vs. a direct entry, and for me direct entry was the right option, and Seattle U's cost was just about the same as an ABSN plus a masters (actually, I think it's a little cheaper when you factor in cost of living in the shorter amount of time the whole program of study will take). Seattle is also really focused on social justice and vulnerable populations, and the atmosphere is great, so if you have any questions, feel free to ask!
    caryt123 likes this.
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    Nate and mef06011 (and anyone else ) - I would LOVE to hear more about your decision to pursue a direct-entry MSN program. I have a BS in an unrelated field - journalism. I have spent the last year taking A&P, Micro, Chem, Stats, etc. as prerequisites to most BSN programs. How did you decide between a bachelor's and a master's? I know I want to be an RN. But there is much appeal in knocking out all the schooling at once, instead of school, working as an RN, then back to school. I am single now, with no children, and I think it would be easier to get my schooling done before I have a family. I'm 28, should I get out there and start working as an RN as soon as possible then decide on an advanced practice field?

    Does anyone who completes the MSN program ever work as an RN then in a year or few years begin working in the advanced practice field they studied? I happened upon Vanderbilt's program, which inspired ideas of skipping the BSN and going straight for an MSN. I am interested in the CNM route, possibly adding FNP. Any advice on how you made your decisions would be greatly appreciated!!

    Thanks!

    Cary
    blackbird singing likes this.
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    [quote=lilacs101;5474975]Hi all,

    I'm around 30 years old and making a career change into midwifery. I realized that I was very unhappy at a sedentary, desk-based job working on conceptual issues. I have always been very interested in women's issues and have always enjoyed science, love working with people, love working with my hands. When someone I knew had her first child with a midwife in attendance, I began reading everything I could find and talking to anyone who had any connection to maternal/neonatal health. My research phase lasted about six months, and by the end I was convinced that pursuing the CNM credential (versus CPM, or even CM) was right for me. This summer I began taking prerequisite classes for my state university's accelerated BSN program, and I hope to begin nursing school next summer.

    I have two concerns.

    1) I am not looking forward to nursing school. I've talked to a few alumnae of the program I hope to attend, and they have universally said that it was a miserable year. From what they've told me, a lot of nursing school is rote memorization combined with learning the "correct" answers (i.e. the answer your instructor wants you to give), plus a few fluff credits here and there. With the number of credits packed into a calendar year, I'm not surprised they were miserable. Still, I did my B.S. at what's considered a very good university (I'd rather not name it) and had the highest GPA in my program (tied with another person). I've got a 98.5% average in the A&P1 class I'm taking at the local community college. I've got a great work ethic, I test well, I'm organized, I learn well in a structured setting. I'm prepared to do an INSANE amount of work, but what I'm NOT prepared to do is to turn off my brain. :-( I'm nervous that I'm not really a good fit for nursing school.



    You actually do the opposite....you don't turn off your brain. If you do that , you will fail out of nursing school. It's not about memorizing and giving the right answers. You need to KNOW this stuff not just for your exams, and clinicals, but when you get out of nursing school and have peoples lives in your hands. You need to LEARN it; not MEMORIZE it.
    Bessi38 likes this.


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