Online Nurse Midwifery Programs

Online Midwifery Programs could help busy nurses work towards certified nurse midwife (CNM) credentials. Certified Nurse Midwife programs online often enable individuals to take midwifery didactic courses through computer technology and clinical practicums in ones home community. Accredited CNM programs online also typically require students to make one or more visits to campus to attend in-person lectures, discussions, and or interact with classmates and faculty.

written by Rana Waxman

Online Midwifery Programs: Online Midwifery Degrees

Midwifery courses online are available at multiple degree levels, such as Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and post-graduate certificate. Some online midwifery schools might also offer a MSN with the option to complete extra hours to earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. The length of any given online midwifery programs depends on the degree being sought, and the student’s prior level of education.

List of Midwife Courses

Midwife CourseDescription
Primary Care of WomenThis type of course could discuss general and reproductive health from adolescent through menopause. Students who take online midwifery programs such as this might learn how to educate patients about effective healthcare and disease prevention.
Labor, Birth and Newborn CareStudents might learn the essential principles and methods to care for women during their pregnancy, intrapartum and immediate postpartum stages. Also, they might receive instruction in how to care for women in diverse settings (e.g. home birth, hospitals). Newborn care typically covers the first month of their life.
Reproductive Healthcare for WomenStudents could be introduced to specifics of women’s reproductive anatomy and physiology, and the different diseases and conditions that might affect a female reproductive system. Other topics that might be covered could include sexually transmitted diseases and how to prevent them, contraceptive methods, as well as preconception advising and care. Students enrolled in online midwifery programs might learn how to prepare women for childbirth and breastfeeding.
Certified Nurse Midwife online programs typically have an academic and clinical component. While by no means a complete list, these sample courses might be discussed in the academic portion.

Masters in CNM Programs Online

An online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Nurse-Midwifery program typically covers foundational nursing courses, midwifery education, skills preparation and clinical practices. Students enrolled in online midwifery programs may need to complete about 62 to 64 credits total, and pass a final exam to earn their Masters in Nurse Midwife degree. Some midwifery schools might also require students to complete a midwifery project. Foundational or core classes tend to focus on advanced practice nursing and primary care. Students might therefore study biostatistics and disease prevention as well as review current research with an eye to applied theory into practice. Courses in communication and health promotion could also be considered key MSN topics. Students are also likely to take advanced pathophysiology and advanced health assessment. Midwifery clinical management courses are often composed of classes in women’s (reproductive) health and labor, birth and newborn care. While specific course titles and content might vary, typical core classes for accredited online nurse midwifery programs might also include the topics below.
  • Pharmacology across the lifespan
  • Primary care of women
  • Role of the Nurse Midwife
  • Pregnancy care
Clinical classes could address advanced practice and nurse-midwifery skills. For instance, certified nurse midwives learn to deliver babies and manage emergency situations (such as hemorrhaging) that might occur when a woman goes into labor. It could also cover the skills needed to repair lacerations and to provide surgical assistance to physicians during cesarean births.ii Clinical hours, otherwise known as clinical practicums are another basic aspect of online midwifery programs. However, requirement hours for midwifery courses online could range from 600 to 1,000—it depends on the program. Typically, these are hours where a nurse midwife student is supervised by a nurse preceptor in a professional clinical environment while s/he fulfills responsibilities and duties working with women of all ages.
DID YOU KNOW? The most common degree types awarded to students graduating in Nurse Midwife are Master’s Degree; Post-Master’s Certificate; and Professional Doctorate.i

Certified Midwife Pathway to the MS in Midwifery Programs

Individuals who are certified midwives at the Bachelor’s level might pursue a different type of Master’s degree program simply because their needs are different than registered nurses. Certified midwives may need to take foundational nursing courses before they move onto a Master of Science in Midwifery program. Such courses could cover the basic healthcare skills and medical terminology used in clinical practice. Through these key courses, students might learn things like infection control, sterile techniques, venipuncture, wound care, and patient advocacy. Other courses might provide related laboratory sessions where students could practice in a hands-on environment. CM students might also learn about theories of stress, coping, health and illness depending on which .

M.S. in Midwifery Completion Programs

Current midwives who are Board Certified by the AMCB might expand their professional competencies through a M.S. in Midwifery Completion Program. This type of program could require about 36 credits as students might receive credit for their certificate in nurse-midwifery if it was earned through a program accredited by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM). Other requirements could include graduate-level courses in theoretical foundations, evidence-based care, and health policy. Students might then take electives such as a course in reproductive health in developing nations.

Online Post-Graduate Certificate in Nurse Midwifery

An online post-graduate (post-masters) Certificate in Nurse Midwifery may be available for persons who seek to expand their knowledge with a certification in Midwifery and already have a masters or doctoral degree in a health-related discipline from a regionally accredited program. Students who pursue a post-graduate certificate may follow the same curriculum as the Master of Science in Midwifery, although they may have fewer courses. Also, some nurse practitioners or other health providers with a masters or doctoral degree might be eligible for advanced placement. An advanced placement option (APO) is designed to minimize duplication of coursework and skills but still aims to provide sound midwifery education.

Online Doctor of Nursing Practice – Nurse Midwifery Programs

An online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) with a focus in Nurse Midwifery is a practice-based degree for nurses. Some schools might offer a DNP companion to their MSN program in which students who have first earned their Masters degree could complete extra academic and clinical courses to earn the DNP degree. In this type of program, students may only need to complete about 19 credits. In terms of curriculum, online DNP students who focus in nurse midwifery may need to complete a mix of the foundational and core courses mentioned in the above MSN section as well as extra courses that are designed to prepare them in the eight core competencies outlined in the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice.iii
Some of these courses might include the topics below, although course names and content could vary between midwifery schools online.
  • Nurse as educator
  • Organizational and systems leadership
  • Health policy and advocacy
  • Inter-professional collaboration
  • Patient care technology
  • Health care policy
Online Doctor of Nurse Midwifery programs aim to help graduates advance clinical practice, education, policy or administration through courses in analytical methods for evidence based practice. Therefore, some programs may be intended for mid-career midwives who already have certification or registration in midwifery. Students often have to complete a final DNP project.

Admission Information for Accredited Online Nurse Midwifery Programs

Admission to online midwifery programs varies, but accredited online nurse midwifery programs typically require that candidates are registered nurses with an active license in their state of residence. That said, the level of academic preparation that applicants must complete prior to when they apply depends on the type of program(s) they are interested in. For instance, a BSN to MSN Nurse Midwife program is built for applicants who have earned their Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Post-Masters Online Nurse Midwife certificates typically mandate that a candidate have a MSN or higher degree. Ultimately, online midwifery schools may have different options set up for students who want to change (nursing) careers or further their education. Other admission requirements may include a minimum undergraduate GPA, the completion of college statistics and physical assessment courses, and one or more years of professional nursing experience. GRE scores, letters of reference, academic writing samples, and a resume or CV might need to be furnished along with official transcripts. For more information on the admission requirements for online nurse midwifery programs, prospective students should contact admissions advisors at the programs that interest them.

What Are CNMs?

Certified Nurse Midwives are Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) who have studied women’s health in depth. A CNM has the skills to deliver babies and to provide prenatal, birth, and postnatal care. They also conduct gynecological exams, order tests, and prescribe medication in states where this is permitted. In some settings, CNMs also provide primary and gynecological health care to women from adolescent to menopausal age, and offer services such as pap smears, sexual health education, preconception advising, and family health planning. CNMs might pursue a career with a team of other healthcare professionals that include physicians, other nurses, and medical assistants.

How to Work Towards a CNM License

To pursue a career as a certified nurse midwife (CNM), candidates must complete online courses for midwifery that has been accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME). ACME is the accreditation agency of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM). Graduate candidates from an ACME-accredited program must then take and pass a national certification exam administered by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB). After this has been successfully completed, the individual could seek state licensure and or certification as a nurse midwife from his or her state’s board of nursing. If this is your goal, the specifics of licensure and regulations related to midwifery practice and prescriptive authority vary widely among the states; therefore, you should make sure to inquire what these rules are in your state.

Possible Formats for Online CNM Programs

Midwifery programs online are often designed for the current professional who cannot leave work to earn their degree, or students who live far from accredited nurse midwifery programs. Some schools might kick off their program through an orientation where students might forge relationships with classmates, faculty and an advisor. Then, the online format could allow students to complete their courses in their local community. While they could provide a more flexible format, students could still reasonably expect to read extensively from primary source materials in journals. That said, online midwifery schools could make their library accessible remotely. Students communicate through discussions in the virtual seminar room, emails, video chat or other program activities, participants often regularly stay in touch. This type of interaction often complements the electronic courses. Many accredited online midwifery programs require students to make one or more prearranged visits to campus. Sometimes called intensives or residencies, the visits could take most of a day to several days. It may require three or fewer visits to the campus annually.
Each school might categorize their online nurse midwifery programs differently, so it is good to do some homework. What could you expect from an intensive? Here are some common reasons online nurse midwife students might need to visit campus.
  1. In-person discussions
  2. Lectures
  3. Networking events
  4. Group projects
  5. Clinical simulation experience
  6. Laboratory sessions
  7. Skills classes
  8. Supervised assessment
For those drawn to but still unsure about all their features, most online midwifery schools have some kind of section that students could consult. Sometimes, it lists technology requirements or helps to answer questions about their program, so it is a good idea to check it out and feel comfortable if you are new to online education.

Are Online Nurse Midwifery Programs Accredited?

Accredited online nurse midwifery programs could be approved by regional and/or national accreditation agencies to ensure quality. A few to look for could include the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME), the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). The American College of Nurse Midwives maintains a list of ACME-accredited online midwifery programs.

Online Midwifery Programs: Take the Next Step

Find an online Nurse Midwife program and online midwifery schools right away. Scroll through our list of midwifery schools by degree level, then easily contact the schools. An on-page form makes it convenient to take the next step today.
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