Congratulations are in order to all the new Nurse-Midwife graduates this year! It is a long, often wonderful,
sometimes overwhelming process to become a midwife. So you should be very proud, and we are happy
to welcome you to our profession.
Two of these graduates-- Emily Jackson and Catherine Mellen-- became the
22nd class to graduate from Baystate Medical Center Midwifery
Education Program. There are only 38 midwifery education programs in the country,
only two in New England-- and we have one of them Massachusetts. As of this May, 98 CNMs have come out of the
Baystate program, which to date has a 100% first attempt pass rate on the AMCB
But as lucky as we are to have Baystate’s program, we are not currently
producing enough midwives nationally to help deal with the major obstetric
workforce shortage. According to the
ACNM’s “Midwifery Education Trends Report 2015,” nearly 1 million
American women do not receive adequate prenatal care. The American Congress of Obstetricians and
Gynecologists has reported that currently 49% of US counties do not have an
obstetrics provider, and a 25% shortage of OB-GYNs is predicted by 2030.
Increasing the number of midwives seems like a natural
solution to addressing this workforce shortage.
In the US, women receiving midwifery care report high levels of
satisfaction, and studies consistently show that midwifery care results in
excellent outcomes for women and babies with fewer interventions and lower
costs. Indeed, most other developed
countries structure their maternity system so that midwives are the default
provider for normal birth, resulting in more midwives than obstetricians caring
for their pregnant women. Despite the
fact that the majority of women experience normal birth, the US has not
followed this model and currently there are 4 OB-GYNs for ever 1 CNM/CM.
The American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) and Accreditation
Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME) have put forth
recommendations to help increase the number of annual midwifery graduates,
1) Increase the number of ACME-accredited midwifery
education programs throughout the United States
2) Support increased funding for nursing and midwifery
education, specifically focused on support for clinical preceptors.
3) Increase recruitment efforts aimed at attracting nursing
students and nurses to midwifery careers.
4) Increase the number of clinical education sites through
greater collaboration with OB/GYN residency education programs
5) Increase recruitment efforts aimed at expanding the
diversity of the midwifery profession.
So what can we do to help these efforts?
If anyone is interested in more information about our program or expanding midwifery education in Massachusetts, please
feel free to contact me.
Sukey Agard Krause, CNM, MSN
Director, Midwifery Education Program
Baystate Medical Center
689 Chestnut Street
Springfield, MA 01199