working momof4 aspiring mw debating bw SUNY DE or CNM Frontier

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    Hi I'm new on this forum. So glad to have found it. I've been reading through archives and have already found it to be a tremendous resource. Thanks for being here!
    I have two dilemmas really:
    One: I'm a busy 33 year old mom of 4. I'm a massage therapist, doula, and childbirth educator who feels extremely fulfilled being involved in birth. I really could not ask for more... except that I'm frustrated that women who ask me for birthing options don't have enough, esp. those women w/ medicaid, and I'm often frustrated when I go to births at how they are managed, and I'm frustrated that I don't make as much money as I need to-- I work very hard and always worry about getting my next batch of clients just to close up $40,000 a year. And I feel like it's not going anywhere professionally. I'm not going to get raises or pensions or benefits, and I am worried about using my body so intensively for too many more years, I am sensing that it's time to start thinking about a transition...
    I also feel clinically inclined. I have a non-nursing bachelors from Columbia University. I'm bright (enough).

    So, my first dilemma is: my heart is in birth, but I look at midwives as like next to God... am I really ready to be that person? Do I need to be that person or am I just turning to it out of financial desperation which is not the best motive?

    Second dilemma: a lot of this question is tied up in how much of a sacrifice it will take to make that transition. I feel like my kids will suffer. but I also feel like they will suffer if we cannot meet our basic expenses, which we currently cannot. Something has to change. My husband is supportive but not very organized, and he has never been very reliable for income...
    my choices are as follows:

    I live a mile away from SUNY Downstate in brooklyn and SUNY offers a direct entry program for non-nurses. being that I already have a BA, I could take 8-9 prereqs at whatever pace I choose--big point here-- I can continue to work! and try to make more $ so I can save up, and pretty much have my same life-- then do either 2 year full time or 3 year part time midwifery program. I don't expect to be able to work at that time. I would have same scope of practice as a CNM, but just be a CM. Part of me worries that I won't get as much respect in the job market and fears that I will be somehow clinically inferior, but I also kind of like the "purity" of not being "poisoned" as an L&D nurse since I am more natural/ homebirth oriented, etc... and I don't realistically think I'll leave the NY area so I'm not so worried about not being a CNM.

    OR...I could do no prereqs, and go through nursing school part time or full time (my estimates are that I would spend about 18 hrs per week in the PT program and 24 hrs per week in the FT program plus studying) bottom line-- would be very hard to work. Why am I considering this?
    1. to get the CNM credential with all the liberties it entails
    2. to have the possibility of going to Frontier instead. It sounds like such a cool program-- if any of you struggled w/ Frontier vs. SUNY or something similar, can you PLEASE weigh in? And it sounds like Frontier would be a little easier to handle as a mom/ working person-- do classwork at midnight or 6am-- do you have to be extremely self-disciplined to be in a distance program? there issomething about being forced to come into class. I'm also a visual learner, so although Frontier is exciting to me--I'm a little worried about whether or not I'm an ideal distance learner. But for the clinical part, I can think of a bunch of midwives that I would love to apprentice w/ versus who knows how much clinical anything you really get at a university MW program?

    Sorry-now that I wrote this I see it could have been about 4 different threads b/c there are so many issues intertwined, but it's alrady down on the screen, so I'm praying I'll get some sage advice from. some of you wise women.
    Kindly,
    Shayna
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  4. 3 Comments so far...

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    I was accepted to Downstate but had to un-enroll before classes began. I was going to go part-time and work full-time nights, but their class schedule was really random and classes weren't necessarily at the same days/times each week, so it was impossible for me. The midwifery faculty seemed really nice, but the administration was awful. Every step of my application process was made as difficult as humanly possible, and you can never get anyone to answer phone calls or e-mails. I have never dealt with so many awful, miserable people in my life. Still, it is cheap and if you live close by you may be able to better deal with the annoyances than I could in my situation.

    I am actually just starting my Frontier classes today, so I can't give any specifics on how that's working out. I do think that online education will offer me the most flexibility, and will enable me to continue working full-time and supporting myself while still pursuing my CNM goals.

    If you can pull it off financially (because it would be hard to work at the same time), my suggestion is to do an accelerated BSN since you have a bachelor's degree already. Maybe you can apply to Downstate's 15 month accelerated BSN program (you may need to take pre-reqs for this though). You could get a nursing degree quickly and cheaply, see if you want to get your CNM there vs an online program, get more clinical experience, and be in a position to work as an RN during or before midwifery school and make double your current income. Having your RN license is a really handy credential. Even though I intend to be a CNM, I'm glad there's always a solid back-up for me in the event I can't find a job or ever need to make extra money.

    Good luck, and let me know if you have any other questions because I was sort of in the same boat as you.
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    Hi! I am in a similar boat in some respects. I am a second-degree BSN RN trying to decide if i should be a midwife. i also live in brooklyn but will be moving soon. I had a friend who did the frontier program and she LOVED it. she also had a baby in the middle of the program and was able to take some time off then continue. i think the flexability of online classes outweighs the classroom aspect for me at this point in my life. i have a little 2 yr old and i want to be home to have dinner and put her in bed so i could study after she goes to bed.
    the one con to frontier is that you have to find your own clinical placement which my friend had a very hard time doing in nyc. b/c of other schools (columbia, nyu, downstate) and their contracts so a lot of clinical placements were taken. she thought she had preceptor but then frontier had to accept the preceptor's credentials etc and something happened where she had to find someone else.

    what time are Downstate's classes?

    good luck and just know that there others like you out there trying to make a "wise" decision!!
  7. 0
    I went to SUNY's open house and they could not nail down a schedule b/c they do something called "front'laoding" where you do 5 weeks of didactic, then clinical, so your schedule changes in the middle of the semsester and then again from semester to semester. It sounded like you pretty much needed to commit to 9-5 and the some long cliniclas (not sure how long and how often - it was over a year ago that I went to the O.H.).
    pretty intense deal, and part time did not make it so much easier :-(
    i was thinking that to do Frontier, I would actually move for a couple years, but then again I have been thinking about doing that anyway. i think NYC is not an easy place to do an apprecntice-type thing...
    Good luck!


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