Wannabe...

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    I really, really, really want to do women's health. I've been a nurse for three years but am finding it impossible to get into L & D, Mom/Baby or an OB/GYN office even...

    My question is for the Midwives and WHNP's out there.... Should I start my master's without women's health experience? I've done volunteering in the area and have attended births. Anyone get into a CNM or WHNP program without the "1 year of relevant experience?"
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    Yes, plenty of people. Many programs do not require any nursing experience at all, some programs in my opinion actively discourage it. I'm not sure if any school(s) you were looking at do have that requirement, but your 3 years of nursing experience would be enough for many programs.
    phoenixnim and bebbercorn like this.
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    Quote from bebbercorn
    I really, really, really want to do women's health. I've been a nurse for three years but am finding it impossible to get into L & D, Mom/Baby or an OB/GYN office even...

    My question is for the Midwives and WHNP's out there.... Should I start my master's without women's health experience? I've done volunteering in the area and have attended births. Anyone get into a CNM or WHNP program without the "1 year of relevant experience?"
    Yes! I became an RN last year because I KNEW I was meant to be a midwife. I completed an accelerated BSN and passed the NCLEX. A few months later I was accepted into SUNY Downstate's MS in Nurse Midwifery program. I had worked as a doula for several years and had done my senior practicum in maternity but had never worked as a nurse. They actually also have one of the few direct entry programs in the country (for non-nurses to be become Certified Midwives) so they encourage people to apply even for the CNM program without nursing experience. They feel that it is not necessary to becoming a midwife.

    You will see this sentiment in all of the masters entry programs too. (1 yr accelerated BSN followed immediately by MSN in Midwifery). If this wasn't a safe/viable route I doubt Columbia, UCSF, UPenn, and Yale would all have this option.

    Anyhow, I chose not to attend Downstate's program because I did not want to live in NYC and applied instead to Frontier Nursing University's midwifery program and just found out I was accepted.

    You already have nursing experience which is definitely an advantage over me. While I know that one does need to have been a nurse first to become a midwife, it certainly is valuable. Don't feel inadequate because you don't have any OB experience. The vast majority of midwifery programs do not require L&D experience and only some require nursing experience first.

    I definitely recommend doing a doula training and trying to fit in some labor doula work (just because its fun and will always be good experience). But I would also say if its your dream and you're ready, go for it now!
    phoenixnim and bebbercorn like this.
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    I'm looking at SUNY Downstate and Stony Brook in NY. Thank you so much for your response, it helps to have support!
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    @midwifetobe85, thank you so much for your reply! I've thought about doula training to get my hands in and have signed up to be a volunteer doula and am also looking at DONA programs. I would love to hear about your experience at Frontier because I've heard good things! My Mom is a midwife (CNM) and always says "I didn't become a nurse to do the floor, I wanted to be a CNM!" She is so right! I don't mind acute care but I just know it's not my calling.
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    Hi bebbercorn,

    You're very welcome! I'm very passionate about this topic. Both DONA and CAPPA offer great doula training programs and are equally esteemed in the birth community. If you don't mind living in NYC I would definitely recommend SUNY Downstate. It's a wonderful program. I've spoken to several of their graduates and have heard only rave reviews. There admissions office is a total mess and good luck getting someone polite/aware to answer your call but don't let that deter you. The faculty is wonderful and I had a great interview experience. Plus, they let you do your midwifery integration clinical anywhere. Any setting is possible - home, hospital or birth center and pretty much any state you can arrange it with, even abroad! I was very excited by this prospect. I was quite sad to turn it down, but knowing that I'm not a city person two years would be too long for me.

    SUNY Stonybrook, on the otherhand, I've not heard such great things. I spoke to 3 different grads who were not happy/impressed. It's only available as a distance program and they expressed a lack of support and a feeling of being isolated (unlike with Frontier). One recent CNM Stonybrook alum said, 'it worked logistically and financially for me, but I can't recommend it.' One midwife I know who graduated from there in the 90's said it suited her needs. She had an amazing local preceptor which really made the experience worth it for her. I didn't look into the program further myself because they used to require a year of nursing experience which I wasn't planning on getting. I noticed they recently changed the 1 year of experience to 'recommend'.

    If you're going to do a distance program, I would recommend Frontier. Since I haven't started yet, this recommendation is based on my research not yet personal experience. Every source/midwife I found raved about the program. It sounds like they go out of their way to foster a sense of community and interconnectedness between the students and faculty. Plus I've heard from several midwives, RNs and even MDs that they are always impressed with Frontier students - a great sign, I'd say.

    I was initially hesitant because you have to secure your own preceptor but I eventually decided this was a huge benefit. You're preceptor/mentor should be someone who you admire and really want to learn from. With many traditional programs this is out of your control. Since I'm near a city and not near any competing midwifery programs I was told I shouldn't have a problem finding someone. I have a feeling that I should probably be able to find someone who I really connect with.

    It's very cool that your mom is a midwife too and that she's behind the concept of direct-entry midwifery. I've always found it frustrating meeting CNMs and nurses who think you need to be an L&D nurse for 5-10 years before even considering midwifery school. Everywhere else in the world midwifery is its own profession! Nursing knowledge/skills are wonderful additions to a midwife's schooling but are in no way necessary. But I digress..I'll get off my soapbox now...
    bebbercorn likes this.
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    Well, shucks, I'm feeling all inspired now.


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