Quote from LAW79
Hi...I am in a Master's Entry Program in the midwest, but I am thinking of transfering out of the area for my specialty coursework. I will get my RN in May, and I am considering starting a different program next summer or fall. I am wondering if anyone has any thoughts on the midwifery programs at UCSF, Penn and/or Yale (or others!)? I would like to attend a great school with supportive faculty/mentors, and one that embraces the philosophy of midwifery. I am also interested in a program that offers students out of hospital birthing experiences. If you have any ideas about midwifery programs, please let me know! thanks!!
Why are you thinking of transferring? Are you at UIC? They have a great program (if I had any sense I would have accepted their admissions offer a year ago ....) What does your program not have that you want in a program?
Yale's midwifery program isn't supportive of nurses at all, and the GEPNs are very cliquey if you did not go through the program from the first. They are a dedicated GEPN program, with their financial aid going primarily to GEPNs, not RNs. They did have a homebirth clinical elective, but this was cancelled last year, amidst much student protest. They do place a few students in birth centers for integration.
Penn does have a few clinicals in birthing centers. Some of the other schools I spoke with have connections with various birth centers, midwives serving the Amish community, &c. I suggest you start calling schools and speak with the program directors about it.
You can usually arrange to have a clinical experience at least in a birthing center, if not in a homebirth practice, no matter which school you go to -- but I think each school has different insurance issues which may prohibit, say, students at homebirth (this is sort of what happened at Yale -- I think the higher-ups didn't want their endowment vulnerable to a malpractice lawsuit. Talk about deep pockets). Some schools, like Frontier, have relationships with birth centers and homebirth practices all over the country, many run by alum, and they are more likely to take FNS students (Frontier has probably the best networking system of any school I've heard of.)
In fact the entire midwifery philosophy of FNS emphasizes out of hospital birth. For one example, to graduate, we have to write a business plan and community and needs assessment to start our own birth center practice. Because of this, FNS grads have a solid real world foundation in understanding and negotiating contracts, third party payors, state laws, fair reimbursement for midwifery services rendered, &c -- most CNM programs do not adequately cover this. Out of hospital birth isn't just all woo-woo crunchy granola -- if you do this for a living you will not be an employee of a healthcare corporation but are likely be the proprietor of the business, or the associate of the proprietor, and ypu better well be able to understand how the business works from the inside out.
You can also schmooze and network on midwifery listservs (there are several) -- introduce yourself, put out your request -- to find the out of hospital practices that take students, either informally (say, during your summer break), or formally for credit. (This is how to find a job after graduation, too. CNMs post their open positions on these listsevs ... forget the ACNM job board ....) If you are able to relocate and pay your expenses this may be an option. I got several offers for not only birth center and homebirth clinical experiences, but for integration when I put the word out earlier this year on a couple of listservs -- the midwives who contacted me said I was the kind of student they'd love to have. For example, recently a CNM with a homebirth practice advertised that she wanted to find a dedicated SNM who wanted to do integration with her and even become a practice partner. They're out there, but you have to do detective work, then hope your school will approve the arrangements. (Again, much easier with a distance program.)
There are a couple of birth centers in El Paso that take students, who pay a fee for however many weeks or months they want to stay. They take students year-round.
Good luck with your search. I think more and more midwifery students do want out of hospital experiences -- schools will have to accomodate this eventually, I hope!