Certain about midwifery, uncertain about nursing

  1. 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.

    2) More importantly... I don't want to be a nurse. The programs I'm considering for my MSN in Midwifery require at least a year working as a nurse before the program. I am DREADING that year! I know I would be very happy working gyn/ women's health/ reproductive health (Planned Parenthood would be a dream job), and I could probably tolerate L&D for a year. ;-)

    Everything else... well, all I've read on this board is how impossible it is to get a job right out of school, and how everyone in the medical system looks down upon and abuses nurses, and how nurses are overworked, underpaid, and disrespected. I'm not interested in wiping someone's ass while they berate me. I'm not interested in listening to a physician talk to me like I'm subhuman because s/he went to med school and I didn't (I considered it about 10 years ago and decided that my ego was large enough as is ;-). In short, I've never met a nurse that loved his/her job. Oh, the horror stories I've heard! You nurses, all of you, are SAINTS, the POWERHOUSES of our medical system, I can't believe you all stick with your jobs. Why would anyone voluntarily choose this career? Unless... it were a stepping stone to something else?

    Having freaked myself out about all of that...

    CNMs out there, was it worth it? Do any of you identify as MIDWIVES instead of NURSE-MIDWIVES? If I tell my nursing school interviewers that I'm not going to be a nurse, don't see myself as a nurse, don't intend to work as a nurse, am I shooting myself in the foot? Was getting through nursing school and those first few years outside women's/ reproductive health worth it? What would you recommend to me? Words of wisdom? Help!!! I'm all ears (or eyes... or whatever :-).

    Yours truly,
  2. Visit lilacs101 profile page

    About lilacs101

    Joined: Aug '11; Posts: 15; Likes: 5
    from US


  3. by   danceluver
    @ lilacs---same boat as you! women's health is my passion, and i don't mind getting the RN experience if only it will definitely be in Labor and Delivery but most of us won't be able to choose in this job climate Good luck with everything!
  4. by   lilacs101
    Thanks for your nice reply, dancingnurse. This weekend I made a list of jobs/ areas that I think I might like to do for a year. Too bad that travel nursing usually requires a few years experience! Anyway, the list was longer than I expected. Maybe there is hope. Plus, as long as the environment isn't totally toxic, I'm pretty sure I can stick out anything for a year.

    As long as I can get a job and not have it drive me crazy. Setting the bar pretty low, eh?
  5. by   danceluver
    I completely agree, I also just hope i don't have to settle when it won't be relevant to what I hope to achieve. Labor and Delivery I think (or something related to reproductive medicine) would be only fully beneficial work experience for people who have such specific interests like us. I definitely want to be CNM not a lay midwife, because there are so many beautiful aspects of the CNM profession. I just hope jobs are aplenty by the time i finish my RN licensure program. What were the stuff you listed? Feel free to PM me if you'd like
  6. by   lilacs101
    Hello again! :-)

    On the subject of L&D... I've heard seasoned CNMs go both ways, that L&D experience can be useful or not useful (in that you can pick up on the obstetric model of care and have to "unlearn" some attitudes and habits). Having said that, I think that if a nurse is passionate about women's reproductive health, s/he's not going to start treating her clients like objects any time soon. Anyway, for me, I'm starting to think it might not be a bad idea to work in another type of setting right after graduation to sharpen my clinical skills and to give me a chance to either apply for L&D positions or apply for my master's degree.

    ALSO. I had my first nursing dream last night. Specifics are foggy... I had midwife dreams regularly when I first decided on the career change. Maybe I'm getting used to the idea of being a nurse.

    Here's my list (from what I remember, I don't have it with me!). In the end, though some of these ideas are cool, I'm probably going to go with 1) whatever opportunity presents itself, and 2) whatever will help me work on my clinical skills. And stick it out for a year. Without further ado...

    Things I Could Do the Year After I Graduate from Nursing School:

    • L&D at our local hospital
    • Planned Parenthood
    • Assist some of the midwives in the community
    • ED at our local hospital (the primary health care provider for the low-income in our community, I am interested in taking some social work classes while I'm in school so this might be a good fit, plus I do VERY well under pressure)
    • LTC at a particular place in our community (I genuinely enjoy the company of the old folks, even the grumpy old men, and the place I have in mind is FABULOUS and not depressing)
    • Head down to the Southwest and work in a border birth clinic there
    • Go to the Philippines/ Indonesia and work in a birth clinic there (love traveling)
    • Take on doula clients (though I don't want to do this full-time)
    • University/ college health centers
    • Shadow the travel medicine nurse in town (like I mentioned, I love traveling and I've been all over the place)
    • Move somewhere totally random, in the middle of nowhere, and work in a rural hospital doing whatever (I'm thinking Alaska or Montana)
    • Continue my education--CBE, lactation consultant, etc.
    • Our local Free Clinic always needs hands on deck

    That's all I remember at the moment... I'll edit if I remember more. :-)

    How about you? What else could you consider besides L&D?
  7. by   danceluver
    That is a very good question! I want to try to eventually jump right into my NP program after my BSN, so I'll be limited to what is available around the university i attend. I would rather work in a hospital or doctor's office where I can get a lot of clinical experience. I really don't want to live rurally since I plan on settling down in a city with a family. Building contacts and networking is very important to me, but I think i could consider stuff like peds or working in a student health clinic, family practice, etc. I think learning basic skills in pharm, injections/shots,, ekgs, etc all are very important. But I really don't want to do beside nursing if I can help it. I think becoming a nurse is the first step to get a good foundation, but since I want to specialize i want to become an "expert" in the field of what I love rather than a jack of all trades. I think doing some specialized certifications is a really good idea that you have, but not sure how much $ i would have to do that immediately, lol. What type of nursing program are you planning on entering....bsn then work and then to CNM, direct entry, etc?
  8. by   lilacs101
    Sounds like you know what you like, and what you hope to do. I hope it works out for you!!

    I'm looking at an accelerated BSN (SUNY Binghamton 2012 hopefully), then working for a bit, then starting a CNM program. I'm in NYS, so at the moment I'm thinking SUNY Stony Brook or Frontier to start in 2014 or 2015. If I don't have kid(s) in the meantime, haha! My first degree was incredibly expensive; I just can't justify the tuition at the private programs (Vanderbilt, Yale, etc).
  9. by   arabianeyez83
    Wow lol. I love being a nurse! I am an ER nurse, there is not much ass wiping lol. Where I work doctors and nurses have a great relationship. It's a huge teaching hospital, great respect for one another. I have never experienced what you speak of. You should get your own experience and not let everyone else's experience ruin it for you. Go into nursing school with a positive attitude and excitement, wanting to learn as much as you can, gaining as much experience as you can, and it will be less miserable for you
  10. by   blackbird singing
    A suggestion if you want to just skip to the midwife part could be a bridge program. Assuming you have your bachelors in another field (idk if you do, sorry!), you can complete your masters in midwifery in 3 years. This means no time off in between to work as a nurse. It's usually 1-1.5 years of the pre-specialty program, and then the remaining time in graduate level courses to be a CNM. You apply for the program as a whole. You do not graduate with a BSN, but do sit for the NCLEX before you can take your specialty classes.

    This is what I am applying for this year. Check out this site, it may help you! This is a list of grad-entry programs: http://www.midwife.org/rp/eduprog_options.cfm?id=2

    Or, bridge from ADN to MSN. Not all require you to have experience: http://www.midwife.org/rp/eduprog_options.cfm?id=1

    Hope this was helpful, and good luck to you!
  11. by   danceluver
    @ emilyrose....thinking of doing the same thing as well, or an absn and then into an MSN program....what programs are you looking at? And strange your first link doesn't have emory listed as one of the programs...Good luck to you too!
  12. by   danceluver
    Quote from arabianeyez83
    Wow lol. I love being a nurse! I am an ER nurse, there is not much ass wiping lol. Where I work doctors and nurses have a great relationship. It's a huge teaching hospital, great respect for one another. I have never experienced what you speak of. You should get your own experience and not let everyone else's experience ruin it for you. Go into nursing school with a positive attitude and excitement, wanting to learn as much as you can, gaining as much experience as you can, and it will be less miserable for you
    I think being an ER nurse is one of the best jobs as well! But to get one as a new grad nowadays seems impossible, very sad. You are incredibly blessed to learn and see so much as one!
  13. by   lilacs101
    Arabianeyez, thanks so much for your enthusiastic post. It gives me hope!!

    To be honest, I should probably stop reading this board. I just keep hearing over and over about how desperate new nurses are for work, and how working nurses hate their supervisors and their work environments. What negativity! I'm not a rose-colored glasses wearing Pollyanna by any means (my boyfriend calls me out all the time for being cynical; I say I'm realistic)... but I'm pretty discouraged by listening to all of these negative stories with so few bright points.

    EmilyRose, you bring up a really good suggestion when you mentioned the direct-entry MSN midwifery programs. I do have a bachelor's degree in a completely unrelated field. :-)

    Unfortunately, most of the programs on my list are out of my price range, either because they're private schools or not in my state. My first B.S. was somewhere around $150,000. This time around I won't have outside help, and I'm very hesitant to take on that much debt in this economy. So, I'm limiting myself to my state schools, even if it takes a year or two longer (which are years that I can be working to support myself and save for my master's degree). The one that's in my state (SUNY Stony Brook) probably shouldn't be on that list; they do have a "direct entry" option, but it's for ADNs or non-nursing bachelors+portfolio (which I wouldn't have).

    Thanks again for your responses... it's helpful to talk this through. :-)
  14. by   blackbird singing
    Yeah, I though it was missing a few schools, too. But isn't Emory set up to where you get your ABSN, then you have to apply to get the CNM? idk though...
    I'm looking at Vandy, ohio state, seattleu and marquette. I'm all over the place. haha

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