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The Well-Rounded Midwife

Feb 27th, 2011 Paths

One of the arguments my teachers gave for the superiority of the BSN over a two year program was the way a liberal arts education gives you a well-rounded perspective of health and life. She explained the exposure to many ideas would allow us to better communicate with the wide variety of individuals who would eventually find themselves under our care.

I’m not a person who would call any education “wasted.” But I am a person who can think of time or money wasted. Which is why I am glad statistics demonstrate that BSN nurses do provide better outcomes.  I doubt it is because BSN’s had a literature requirement.  I think it has more to do with the goal of the program, BSN’s are trained to think through the problem and identify risks.  RNs from two year programs (I am told, but only by those who went through BSN programs) are trained to perform nursing procedures and tasks with less critical thinking.

So here is my question, does this difference have the same effect between CNMs and CPMs?  Is there a difference in the way they approach patients or think about patients that brings about different outcomes?

This is a hard question to ask, because unlike nursing programs, midwifery training leads to two completely different work environments each with challenges the midwife must work around. CNMs may be more influenced by the doctor back-up, nurses at the hospital or hospital protocol. CPMs may be more influenced by restrictions on practice and lack of access to hospital services.  I’m not sure they could ever be compared on a large scale, but it is still worth thinking about.

 

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Jennifer Vanderlaan CNM MPH is the author of the BirthingNaturally.net website. She has been working with expectant families since 2000, training doulas, childbirth educators, and midwives. She has worked with midwives in Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her interest in public health grew in 2010, and she is now a PhD student learning to become a producer of knowledge.

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