CNA or Doula to BSN to CNM

  1. Hello!
    I've recently decided to embark on the journey of becoming a CNM. I'm at a crossroads on how to begin. I've missed admissions into the spring semester for classes at my local community college and have to wait until summer to start taking care of my pre-reqs. Until then, I'd like to start a job in the nursing field, more aligned with my newly chosen path. I have only a few months until summer classes start, and I assume it will only take me a year or less to complete my pre-reqs before I am able to attend school for my BSN.

    Which would be a more appropriate route? To become a CNA in 4 weeks and begin working in the general nursing field or become a certified Doula in order to gain valuable experience with mothers and midwives?

    I understand being a Doula would offer me the most specific experience for becoming a CNM, but I'm thinking certification and experience at actual births would take too long.

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    Joined: Jan '13; Posts: 2


  3. by   tigerlogic
    I'm not sure about what it takes to be a doula and it probably varies by state, but most CNAs work in LTC. LTC is great experience in some ways, but has almost nothing to do with mother/baby. What is the market like in your area for CNAs getting hospital jobs?

    If you are set on CNM, I'd think doula....? You'd get to see more of what you're interested in.
  4. by   queenanneslace
    There are CNAs who work in hospitals in my area.

    I've been a doula for 10 years - was a CNA in a care center prior to that.

    Right now I wish I would have maintained my CNA and worked in a hospital during nursing school. I think that would help me get a L&D position right now. The doula stuff is great.... practically, though, it's not helping me right now as a graduate nurse. My classmates who have experience working in a hospital as a CNA (or PCA) are getting job interviews - I assume because of their hospital experience.

    That said - I did work for a period of time with a CPM - and the fact that I was a doula and had some experience taking vital signs was the foot in the door that allowed me to get experience at a lot of out-of-hospital births.

    Now that I'm looking for in-hospital jobs, the OOH experience isn't really helping. A conundrum.

    I think doing both might be reasonable, too.
  5. by   SycamoreGuy
    Sometime hospitals will have paitent care technicians work in L&D, you might also be able to find a midwife that may let you assist in some (very) limited capacity. Good luck on your journey!
  6. by   lmbtdoula
    I am a current CNA student working on my nursing pre-reqs(full time), also a birth doula 3 years and a massage therapist 7 years, specializing in pregnancy and fertility, also looking long term to becoming a CNM. I begin clinicals on Monday and I am already applying for hospital CNA/CST jobs. And I am talking with a local home birth CNM about assisting her. She takes on several assistants, so this option works for both of us. I get some experience and she has a network of doula/assistants she can call on.

    You most likely wont get into L & D as a CNA, but the hospital experience will be a big advantage for you later on when you apply for a RN job.

    You can get your DONA training, it is only a weekend workshop, then find a place to volunteer as a doula. Many hospitals have volunteer programs, you can volunteer just a day a week or every other to get some birth experience at the same time as your hospital experience. This way you aren't on call, possibly missing classes or your CNA shift for a birth. Also, note that many RNs in L & D are getting their DONA training, be great to already have it when you get your RN and apply for those L & D jobs. Think about CLC, lactation counselor as well. I'm doing it this summer.

    By the way, getting your DONA training is great support experience, but a different skill than assisting a home birth midwife. For that you are the midwife's support person, not the mom's. You will pack bags, clean instruments, fetch supplies, hold flashlights, etc. But you will also shadow her, get to talk about the birth from her perspective rather than the moms. Both are important perspectives, but if you have children already than you have this perspective.

    Mine is a very full plan. It doesn't all have to be done simultaneously, pick and choose what works for your life situation and local availability. If you want it, you will get there however long it takes and however many detours there are in front of you. Best of luck!

    Peace, love & babies

  7. by   biggolp
    Another aspiring midwife here.

    This info has been very helpful.

    I am currently finishing my (non-nursing) bachelor's and working on pre-requisites to enter a direct-entry midwifery program.

    I am signed up for a DONA training next week and then will begin shadowing a doula with the hospital volunteer doulas group. After that, I will be assigned a shift as a volunteer doula.

    I am also beginning training as a Birth Assistant at a local freestanding birthing center, and after some shadowing there and a number of births where I will have increasing responsibility, I will be assigned a shift with them.

    This is all very exciting to me!

    Good luck on your journey...

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