CNM vs NP vs dual degree.... Need help finding direction.


I've always known I have wanted to pursue an advanced nursing degree, and I feel like the time is right in my life to start. I have 6 years experience as a labor and delivery nurse.

I always thought I wanted to pursue a nurse practitioner career. I am interested in the advanced practice portion, especially in the area of women's health, and have considered maybe a women's health nurse practitioner track. One of the biggest pros of this career is the schedule; I would want to work in a clinic setting, where I wouldn't have to work as many nights/weekends/holidays.

However, I LOVE labor and delivery and am not sure I want to give that up for a clinic career. I know I would still be challenged daily and would learn a great deal, but I really enjoy caring for women during labor and birth.

I didn't think I wanted to look into a career as a nurse-midwife, but I'm starting to consider it now. The major drawbacks are the call and I have heard CNMs have to carry major Liability Insurance, and there's of course a higher likelihood of being involved in litigation at some point (not unlike being a labor nurse). But the pros would be the ability to continue to do what I love, just at a different level.

I'm leaning at this point towards a nurse-midwide/women's health nurse practitioner dual focus program.

I would love any insight from those who are in either field; what helped you decide on your chosen career path?

Any advice is much appreciated!



359 Posts

Based on what you said, it would make the most sense for you to become a CNM. As you know, the scope of practice and training would allow you to provide full scope midwifery care including during labor and delivery. The scope of practice for midwifery actually includes everything the WHNP covers no there is usually no advantage to having both. As a midwife, you can always choose to limit your practice to only clinic work. So if you every get burned out or tired of being on-call, you could choose to focus your practice on only primary care and women's health. As far as Liability Insurance is concerned, the policy you need is more dependent on your practice than your title. That is, even if you are a midwife but don't do any L&D, your premiums would be more in-line with other outpatient only providers.