What is a Certified Nurse Midwife?

A Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) is dedicated to the lifelong health welfare of women that they care for. A CNM provides care for women throughout all stages of life, and the scope of includes everything from birth control to pregnancy management. Nurse midwifery is an advanced practice with strong requirements for organizational, practical and interpersonal skills, according to Explore Health Careers.

Education and Certification Requirements

While the minimum educational requirement for a registered nurse (RN) is a bachelors degree, becoming a CNM requires the possession of at least a graduate-level degree such as a doctorate or masters. After acquiring their graduate degree, prospective applicants will need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), just as all other prospective registered nurses entering the field, according to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

If and when the graduate passes the NCLEX and becomes an active registered nurse in their state, their next priority will be preparing for the American Midwifery Certification Board exams. Successfully clearing the American Midwifery Certification exam will earn the registered nurse their certification to practice as a CNM.

Scope of Practice

Rather than primarily caring for patients who are suffering from unpleasant symptoms, midwives are commonly in the employ of women who are in a good state of health. The woman that a CNM most typically provides care for will generally have had low-risk pregnancies. though high-risk pregnancy women can still benefit from a CNM’s care as well.

In their line of work, a CNM will give women medical prescriptions, diagnostic consultation, and device-assisted examinations to maintain a state of good health and facilitate uncomplicated pregnancies. The CNM’s areas of healthcare practice encompass women’s sexual health, neonatology, gynecological care and disease treatment.

CNMs may provide specialized care for teenage and middle-aged women having their first experiences with puberty and menopause respectively. Specialized care paradigms are also developed for women in the antepartum, intrapartum, and postpartum stages.

Cooperation With Other Medical Professionals

The ideal CNM develops a solid network of collaboration with specialized healthcare providers such as physicians and gynecologists. Women who gradually develop sudden complicated factors in their pregnancies may be referred to a CNM by their primary healthcare provider if deemed necessary.


A CNM can find employment in a diverse array of different potential facilities. A CNM is licensed to work both in a privately-practicing medical clinic and a public hospital. Some CNMs primarily operate in birthing centers, some may primarily provide outpatient care, and others might use their certification to become institutional educators.

Founding and Spread

Established in the year 2010, the role of the CNM is still a relatively new addition to the nursing practice field. The first class of CNMs were all graduates from Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) training programs, and today, there are far more sites offering RNs the opportunity to become CNMs.

Related Resource: 5 Jobs With a Health Science Degree

Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the number of nurse midwives in the nation was 170,400 in the year 2014. Currently, the BLS projects that nurse midwifery’s likely job outlook growth rate by 2024 is 31 percent, making its outlook for future job availability a bit more generous than average.