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Midwives provide care to women during pregnancy, delivery, and in the postpartum period. Midwife training programs can be broken into two general categories: direct entry midwife training and training which comes after — or in conjunction with — a licensing program in another healthcare profession. The best training programs in both categories incorporate theoretical information with extensive practical fieldwork with a knowledgeable, experienced midwife.
Direct entry programs are usually not themselves certified or accredited by any outside governing body, so prospective students will need to research these schools carefully. Students will first want to ask what kind of theoretical training is offered and who teaches it. Some direct entry midwifery training courses provide classroom instruction, while others provide self-study modules.
Either of these may be a good choice, depending on the learning style of the student. Self-study modules might work well for a student who has geographical barriers or scheduling conflicts that make attending classes difficult. A student who has trouble learning from written information only, or has difficulty keeping on a schedule, might want to choose a midwifery training course that offers classroom learning instead.
Prospective students of direct entry midwifery training programs will also want to inquire about what kind of clinical support is available and how many births they will be present for before being the primary assistant at a birth. Actual salaried jobs as a direct entry midwife may be limited, and most direct entry midwives will be self-employed. Therefore, a good direct entry midwifery training program will also provide information about independent business practices such as obtaining referrals, billing techniques, and working with other health care professionals.
The most common licensing program for non-direct midwifery training in the United States is the certified nurse midwife program. In order to apply to these types of programs, a student must already be a licensed, registered nurse. Although these type of programs are accredited by a national board, prospective students will still want to inquire about class size and qualifications of instructors. Also, not all certified nurse midwife training programs provide experience in home births. If a student has the goal of assisting in home births, he or she will want to ask about the school’s policy.
Prospective students of certified nurse midwife training programs school should inquire about the school’s pass rate on the national certification exam. While a high pass rate does not guarantee a quality program, it is one indicator that the school is able to provide good midwifery training.
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