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Career Profile: Nurse Midwife

Why Is Nursing a Job of Tomorrow?
Employment positions for registered nurses, including nurse-midwives, are expected to rise 23 percent by 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Registered nurses are the largest health care occupation, and will likely remain in that top position. The average annual salary for full-time nurse-midwives is $79,093 to $89,916, according to the American College of Nurse-Midwives.

What Does a Nurse Midwife Do?
Certified nurse-midwives are registered nurses who specialize in caring for pregnant women who are relatively low risk and therefore do not necessarily need the assistance of a physician. Nurse-midwives work in a variety of settings, including private physician offices, hospitals, birthing centers and in-home care. They not only provide guidance during the birthing process, but are also trained in family planning, gynecological care and managing common adult illnesses. Nurse-midwives often care for women from the onset of puberty to the arrival of menopause, and may work closely with gynecologists and obstetricians to provide the most comprehensive care. The national Institute of Medicine has recommended that nurse-midwives be allowed more responsibilities in women’s health care, according to Medline Plus.

What Kind of Training Do I Need to Become a Nurse Midwife?
Nurse-midwives must earn a master’s degree in health care to become officially certified in midwifery. The master’s program typically takes about two years to complete, and courses include family planning and community health. After earning a master’s, prospective nurse-midwives must also pass a national certification exam developed by the American College of Nurse-Midwives. Practice laws vary state to state, so additional requirements may be needed for particular nurses depending on location.

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