Hi, I am an undergrad at a liberal arts school in upstate new york. I'm about to graduate in May and want to pursue a career in Midwifery. I am trying to decide between studying to be a CNM or a CPM and haven't found anyone to give me clear advice on the pros and cons of each and what I will need to do to be accredited for either. For instance, can I complete nursing school and then go on to study midwifery or do people generally study both at the same time? Or if I were to become a CPM I've seen programs that vary from one to three years, why is that? If there's anybody out there that has gone through the schooling and has any advice for me at all I would appreciate it so much. Thanks for reading this!
Jan 29, '07
I, too, attended undergrad at a liberal arts school in upstate NY! You have a few options in pursuing midwifery. The main difference between a CNM and a CPM is that a CNM is also an RN (a nurse) whereas a CPM is known as a "lay midwife". I can't say that one knows more than another, it's just a different way of education. Lay midwives typically have a large component of their program in an apprenticeship with one or more experienced midwives. They seem to do a lot more in terms of home births or births in stand-alone birthing centers. One thing to consider in going this route is where you would want to practice. Some areas don't have much, if anything, in the way of birthing centers and as far as I know most hospitals do not allow CPMs admitting priviledges (again, this may vary by state... some are more liberal than others).
There are a few different routes you could consider if you were interested in becoming a CNM. There are some direct-entry MSN programs out there for midwifery. The one I can think of off the top of my head is at Yale, but there are others around the country. These programs include a year of pre-licensure work to prepare you to take the NCLEX-RN, followed by two years of courses in midwifery. Another option would be to take earn your RN, either through an ADN, accelerated BSN, or direct-entry generalist MSN, then get some bedside experience in labor and delivery, and then go on for your MSN in nurse-midwifery.
I hope this helps. The OB/GYN forum on this site would also be a good one to check out. Good luck!