Nurse Midwife vs Labor and Delivery RN. Can't Decide

  1. I'm 25 years old and planning on eventually going back to school for nursing and I'm deciding between being a CNM or getting my RN and specializing in labor and delivery. A huge pro for labor and delivery is being able to attend a college in my state so that I don't have to move across the country and pay out of state tuition.
    My sister in law is a labor and delivery nurse and she loves her job, and she really sold me on the idea of being a travelling nurse. She told me that she and her fellow nursing friends were able to work for 6 months, then spend the rest of their time at home not working. This definitely appealed to me since I'm single and have no children.

    This was a bit rambly, but I was hoping to hear from people who work in either of these fields and just hear about your personal experiences.

    Thanks
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  2. 36 Comments

  3. by   Penelope_Pitstop
    To become a CNM, one must first be an RN - I don't know of any direct-entry CNM programs - it just isn't safe. And yes, L&D experience is what is needed. Just to let you know, though, a lot of new grads seek L&D spots so they can be competitive and hard to come by.
  4. by   roser13
    Prioritize. Go to nursing school. Pretend that you don't have a specialty planned. Be open to any field of nursing that might come your way.
  5. by   Paula378
    I should have specified this in my original post, but for midwifery I was looking into accelerated MSN programs since I have a non nursing bachelors degree. For example, the programs at UPENN and Vanderbilt.
  6. by   Penelope_Pitstop
    So is your plan possibly to not work as an RN prior to being a CNM?

    If so, I must stress again that this is not a safe option. I am 36 weeks pregnant and my CNMs were RNs in L&D before becoming CNMs. I wouldn't accept it any other way. Experience is necessary especially in the delivery room, where things can go south very quickly *and* the population served is much more likely to pursue legal action should the worst (or not even close to the worst) can happen.

    If you are going for the accelerated MSN route, fine, but I believe it greatly behooves you to work as an RN prior to obtaining a post-Master's CNM certificate.
  7. by   MurseJJ
    If you can't decide, then why not do both? Do an accelerated BSN program, work as an L&D RN, get good experience, then apply for the MSN CNM?
  8. by   klone
    Most CNMs start as L&D nurses. Get your BSN, work in L&D, and then after a few years, go back to school for your CNM.
  9. by   klone
    Quote from Penelope_Pitstop
    To become a CNM, one must first be an RN - I don't know of any direct-entry CNM programs.
    There are some graduate programs in the NE that have CM programs (non-nursing midwifery). SUNY is one, I believe. Graduates are only recognized in a few states, though (from my understanding).
  10. by   Paula378
    Honestly, I was trying to avoid getting more degrees, especially since I already have an undergrad degree. School is so incredibly expensive and a ton of work.
  11. by   klone
    Quote from Paula378
    Honestly, I was trying to avoid getting more degrees, especially since I already have an undergrad degree. School is so incredibly expensive and a ton of work.
    I guess you could become a lay midwife and do homebirths. No degree required.

    But if you want to work as a midwife in the hospital setting, you will need more degrees.
  12. by   MurseJJ
    Quote from Paula378
    Honestly, I was trying to avoid getting more degrees, especially since I already have an undergrad degree. School is so incredibly expensive and a ton of work.
    You could go to the in-state program for your BSN, work, get experience in L&D, pay down loans, then you could apply to the CNM program and use tuition reimbursement that many hospitals/unions provide.
  13. by   NurseKait_11
    I would definitely get experience as a L and D nurse before starting school to become a CNM. I think that nursing experience in L and D would be really, really helpful in the long run. I did my practicum in L and D and saw many births where midwives were delivering and the team work between the nurses and the CNM was great. The CNM could anticipate what the nurses needed the patient to do because she had been there before, how to position to push etc. and I could see that the ones that didn't have much or any floor nursing experience didn't really have that ability. Of course, nurses can go straight to a CNM but I definitely think it'd be good to put your RN to use and get some L and D experience!
  14. by   Irish_Mist
    You need to be a Registered Nurse with a BSN before a being admitted to a CNM program. Most schools will require at least 2 years of L&D experience.

    As a patient, I wouldn't let a CNM without prior L&D experience come near me, personally. I've had just about enough of these direct entry NP programs.

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