The Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health published an article about a program utilizing student nurse-midwives as volunteer doulas.  I’ve seen programs similar to this, using nursing students or midwifery students.  The program in the article combined the use of community doulas and midwifery students. Having run a volunteer doula service myself I’m usually skeptical of the long term success of such a program. Being a volunteer is not the same as being paid (or getting class credit) for attending a birth. The volunteer has to feel as if the commitment benefits the women being served, and to some extent benefits the doula (or atRead More →

My semester has ended, which is good because so many things on the website have been neglected during this round of classes.  For those who are new to the blog, I’ve just completed my second year in a PhD Program in Nursing.  The second year is a bit more intense.  In addition to classes I have the expectation that I will have a grant submitted for my dissertation research and my dissertation proposal accepted this summer.  I’m progressing well on both fronts, so no worries.  But I wanted to share a few reflections for those who have not yet begun their training. One of the reasonsRead More →

I am in the process of trying to decide what role the website will have in my future life (let’s face it, 15 years is a long time to keep it going). As part of the process I’ve starting thinking about what it takes to make birth a job rather than a hobby. To start with, I don’t think hobby’s are bad things.  I have a few I enjoy very much.  But hobbies are done for our pleasure, not to meet the needs of others.  Hobbies and jobs occupy different spaces in our lives, and demand different responsibilities. Jobs we do to earn money, againRead More →

I hope this has been an interesting, and educational, month for you. We talked about what you need to know to be a midwife, and how your life goals will dictate what type of midwifery education you should pursue. We explored the role of midwifery regulation in determining the educational options you have. We examined the pros and cons of training outside the United States and using distance learning programs. We shared tricks for getting the most out of a preceptorship. We discussed the reasons for certification by competency exam, and why this is the minimum standard. As you move forward, I would love toRead More →

After making all the other considerations and decisions necessary to define your midwifery path, you will probably be faced with a test for midwifery certification. The idea of competency testing has never bothered me personally, quite possibly because I am a good test taker.  While I know standardized tests result in skewed passing rates (with minorities faring worse), this isn’t really the complaint I ever hear about midwifery certification tests.  Instead, would-be midwives complain the test is meaningless and doesn’t prove you are a good midwife.  I hope such concerns won’t keep any potential midwife from seeking certification, so here are a few other waysRead More →

I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about credentialing and licensing – the reason for all the letters at the end of a name.  It isn’t always easy to understand how the whole process works, especially when you are just looking into midwifery as an option. So, my full title (right now) is:  Jennifer Vanderlaan, MSN MPH RN CNM FNP What does all that mean?Read More →

No matter what type of midwifery training you pursue, you will work with preceptors.  Some programs require you to find your own preceptor — which can be nearly impossible in some regions. Other programs assign students to preceptors — which means you may have additional travel costs and spend more time away from family. Regardless of how your preceptor is assigned, how do you use this relationship to become the best midwife you can be?  Here are some ideas.Read More →

When we talk about midwifery training outside the US, we could focus the discussion in one of two ways.  One way would be to talk about the training available outside the US for those who will work outside the US.  The second is to talk about training outside the US for those who intend to work inside the US.  This discussion will be about the later — training outside the US to be licensed as a midwife in the US.Read More →

I’ve been trying to be diligent at getting the website updates completed.  They must be completed before I begin classes again in the fall, or their importance will drop to the “don’t have time” category.  Ugh. It’s been an interesting journey to update the website. Some days I surprise myself with how thorough I had been.  I’ll make a list of things to “add” to the website, only to find in the midst of updating a section that I already added that five years ago! Some days I’m surprised with how messy the navigation had gotten.  The website “grew” organically from questions being received andRead More →