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Nurse midwives provide healthcare with a concentration in the obstetrics and gynecological fields. They assist with natural childbirth, but are also able to administer drugs and use modern technology if the health or wishes of the mother and child require it. Nurse midwives work with expectant mothers prior to their giving birth, and with the mother and child after childbirth. Nurse midwives are trained to ascertain when it is necessary to bring a physician in to assist with childbirth when there is a possibility of harm to the mother or child.
Nurse midwives work in hospitals, in private practices, health clinics, and birthing centers. They sometimes help with mothers who give birth at home. Nurse midwives can also provide counseling assistance in matters such as family planning and birth control. They may also provide routine gynecological or obstetrics examinations.
Nurse midwives need to have the ability to take charge of a situation and make quick, intelligent decisions. They must be able to work independently as well as in a team and be comfortable with leadership positions. Nurse midwives must be able to remain calm under pressure and reassure patients who are nervous or in pain.
The latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that in 2008 the median salary for a registered nurse, which which includes nurse midwives, was $62,450 per year. The highest 10 percent made over $92,240 per year. A survey by the American College of Nurse Midwives in 2007 reported that full-time nurse midwives earned between $79,093 and $89,916 annually.
Training and Education
Nurse midwife is considered a specialized nursing profession. To become a nurse midwife, you need to earn a bachelor's degree in nursing. This is a 4-year college program, but if you already have a college degree in another field there are programs available which may allow you to earn a nursing degree more quickly. After earning the undergraduate degree in nursing, you need to earn a master's degree, which includes classes directed towards your nurse midwife specialty. Some schools require 1 or 2 years of clinical experience prior to being accepted into their master's program. The undergraduate and graduate programs consist of classroom, lab, and clinical work.
Prior to working as a nurse, you are required to pass a national examination and receive a license. Working as a nurse midwife requires additional certification in that field that allows you to practice as a certified nurse midwife (CNM).
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2008 there were 2.5 million registered nurses in the U.S. This makes the field the largest in the healthcare profession.
The nursing profession is projected to be a rapidly growing career field, and the job outlook is considered to be excellent. This is due to the aging baby boomer generation, the advances in health care, and the number of nurses expected to retire over the next 10 years. The demand for nurses varies depending on the location and the specialty of the nurse, but overall this is considered to be a growing career field with good employment stability.