If you’ve been contemplating specializing in midwifery, you may be wondering what a typical day for a certified nurse midwife (CNM) is like. Since these advance practice RNs are busy with a variety of healthcare tasks in different settings involving prenatal, childbirth, and postnatal care, every days holds different rewards and challenges. But there are a few things you can likely expect on a given day when you work as a CNM.
Contours of the CNM Role
When you think of the word “midwife,” you typically think of someone who helps to birth babies. And while that is certainly part of a certified nurse midwife’s job, it’s not the only thing they do. On average, most CNMs spend about 10% of their work time with women in childbirth and their newborn infants. That leaves 90% of their work-related time for a diverse array of primary or preventative care tasks. A certified nurse midwife provides women with their annual gynecological exams. A CNM can assess, diagnose, treat, and refer women suffering from various gynecological issues. They also work with patient issues surrounding menopause. Some CNMs provide other services such as newborn circumcisions. They might assist women in family planning or counsel them regarding things such as hormone replacement therapy.
Settings for a Certified Nurse Midwife
What a typical day might look like for a CNM may depend on where the midwife works. CNMs serve in hospitals, clinics, birthing centers, private practice and homebirth centers. Sometimes they may work in more than one setting; for instance, a homebirth center may have a relationship with a local hospital where midwives work in conjunction with physicians. CNMs are often considered an important part of a healthcare team. A typical day might include office hours where they conduct pap smears and other routine gynecological services, or on-call hours where they assist women in labor and childbirth. Your schedule as a CNM might vary according to how many other people are in the practice. In addition to these traditional sorts of settings, CNMs often work in public health settings or in international situations. Gynecological care for women and help in childbirth are universal needs.
Many women who prefer low-tech birthing options prefer using the services of CNMs. Certified nurse midwives are well-trained to handle normal births, but generally do not engage in as many technological interventions as physicians (one reason why their working in tandem can have challenges but, in some cases, also provide necessary complementary services). CNMs are responsible for about 10% of what are termed “spontaneous vaginal deliveries” in the U.S., that is births that don’t need any instrumentation such as forceps. The work of a CNM is rewarding not only because they attend births, but also because they get to help women at all stages of their life and health. While a typical day for a nurse midwife may be hard to capture in words, you can be sure that it will be full of challenges and rewards.
Please also see: How Can I Become a Midwife?