Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Educational Standards of American Midwives: A Comparison

From Midwife(ology) blog:
"The term midwife is used frivolously in today's American society. When one refers to a midwife, most often it is thought of as someone who provides out of hospital care to a mother and her child. Unfortunately, many are not aware of the differences among the various types of midwives found in the US today. There are a variety of midwives in the US today - Certified Nurse Midwives, Certified Midwives, Certified Professional Midwives, Licensed Midwives, and Direct Entry Midwives. 

A CNM and CM are quite similar with the only real difference being a CNM is required to hold a nursing degree and a degree in midwifery, whereas the CM is only required to hold a midwifery degree (both on the master's level). CPMs, LMs, and DEMs are quite similar as well, with the main differences being the legal status which varies state to state, licensing status which also varies, as well as the mode of education.  Traditional midwives (CPM, DEM, LM) often learn through various methods of education such as traditional school of midwifery, distance learning, or by an apprenticeship. While all are referred to as midwives, there is a vast degree of educational standards separating them.

The two most well-known credentials are Certified Nurse Midwife, and Certified Professional Midwife. The educational differences between these two credentials are extreme."

Certified Professional Midwife (CPM)
  • No High School diploma or GED required, there are no prerequisites for the Midwife to be Program 
  • No college degree or accredited academic training is required
  • Standards for certification are set forth by North American Registry of Midwives (NARM)
  • Some states require a license, others do not and many states consider CPMs illegal 
  • The "Midwife To Be" program is a completely distance learning program.  It is self-paced, and can be completed in as little as a few weeks if done extremely quickly, or as long as 60 years if so desired.   Average completion is 2-3 years.   
  • The MTB program is a  self-study program with tests taken online on the honors system over birth and breastfeeding books, no tests over the textbooks or “units of study”, no classes, no lecture, and the ability to master the required "skills" by looking up You Tube videos 
  • The “Midwife to be Program” through NARM is NOT accredited

** A CPM "certified" in the US would not be competent to practice in ANY other first world country!**

Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)
  •  High School diploma or GED required, and acceptable scores for college entrance on the SAT or ACT   
  • Requires a Bachelors degree in Nursing and a Masters degree in Nurse Midwifery
  • CNMs must prove competency and evidence of certification through the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM), a rigorous, well respected, and accredited organization.  
  • A license is required and every state recognizes/issues licenses for CNMs
  • Takes a minimum of 6 years of higher education
  • Requires an extensive list of college/graduate school classes with lectures, quizzes,  research, clinical studies/practice, tests, graded projects, case studies,  and more
  • Degrees and licensing can only be obtained through accredited programs of study

Food for Thought:  What about CONSISTENCY in preparation, education, scope of practice, oversight, licensing, definition of "midwife" and on and on and on...?   Why are we accepting anything less when it can mean life or very possibly death?

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