Women’s Health/Midwifery Programs

Pursuing an advanced nursing degree allows professional nurses to grow in their field, as well as specialize in a particular area of health that most interests them, such as women’s health or midwifery. These programs often take two years of full-time study to complete if you already hold your bachelor’s degree. A Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) program is designed to help students focus their degree plan on a specific area of nursing, as opposed to studying general. If you have a strong interest in women’s health and obstetrics, earning a MSN and specializing in this particular field will help your chances of finding a job and advancing within the profession .

Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner

A women’s health nurse practitioner (WHNP) focuses on the overall care, health promotion, education, and counseling for their female patients. They provide clinical care and advise them on how to make educated and healthy lifestyle choices. This includes reproductive health, sex education, contraception, and other medical issues. A WHNP is a registered nurses who has completed an advanced nursing education including training in the diagnosis and management of medical conditions in females, some of which include:

  • treatment of sexually transmitted diseases
  • routine gynecological exams
  • pregnancy testing
  • prenatal and postpartum care

Where you work will depend on the type of work you want to do. Are you more interested in the clinical or the research side of women’s health? Some graduates choose to purses careers in research as opposed to clinical care. However, if working with patients is a good fit for you, WHNPs can find work in a wide variety of settings, some of which include the following:

  • private practices
  • managed care organizations
  • hospital out-patient clinics
  • public health agencies
  • nonprofit organizations

Certified Nurse Midwife

A certified nurse midwife (CNM) is a nurse who has completed an advanced degree that focuses on nurse-midwifery and has been properly certified and licensed to practice. They provide primary care to their pregnant patients, as well as provide care during childbirth in hospitals, homes, and even birthing centers. They offer care during pregnancy, labor and birth, and during their patients’ postpartum period. Midwives are often an integral part of labor and delivery teams. They also assist their patients with their newborns when needed and even assist with breastfeeding. Some midwives choose to become certified lactation consultants in order to provide optimal breastfeeding support to their patients.

To become certified, you’ll need to attend nurse-midwifery education program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME) (formerly the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) Division of Accreditation (DOA)).

Midwives are becoming more popular in the United States, as more women choose to give birth at home or a birthing center. Midwives can help women create individualized care plans and help implement specific interventions to achieve optimal patient outcomes. If you’re interested in working as a midwife, you’ll need proper training, including a degree that offers courses in the following:

  • Advanced health assessment
  • Concepts in pharmacology
  • Reproductive health care of women
  • Physiology and pathophysiology
  • Health care ethics
  • Primary care of women
  • Labor, birth, and newborn care
  • Advanced women’s health care

It’s important to keep in mind that each state has different certification and licensure requirements for midwives and women’s health nurse practitioners. While researching schools, it’s a good idea to look into your state’s requirements to verify the program offers the courses you’ll need to become an advanced practice nurse.

Online Practitioner Degrees in Women’s Health and Midwifery

Once you’ve graduated from a MSN in women’s health/midwifery, you can assist women with their health and help them bring a new life into the world. Be sure to look into grant and scholarship opportunities to help you finance your graduate education, and look through the rest of our website to learn about other nurse practitioner specialties.