Credentialing vs. Licensing

Sep 24th, 2014 Education, Paths

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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? Continue reading


Working with Preceptors

Sep 22nd, 2014 Education, Paths

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MidwiferyEducationNo 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. Continue reading


Distance Learning for Midwives

Sep 19th, 2014 Education, Paths

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MidwiferyEducationLast time we talked about questions you need to ask to determine if international training is right for your midwifery path.  Today I want to give you some questions to ask as you consider the possibility of distance learning programs.  Continue reading


Midwifery Training Outside the US

Sep 17th, 2014 Education, Paths

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MidwiferyEducationWhen 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.

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Choosing your program

Sep 15th, 2014 Education

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MidwiferyEducationIs choosing a midwifery training program confusing?  It can be.

This is because when you select your training program you are really selecting up to three things: and educational degree, a competency certification, and a government issued license or registration.

The educational degree

You can find midwifery training programs around the world that will provide you with all levels of educational degrees, from no degree to a doctorate practice. This is important for two reasons.

First, some areas limit the practice of midwives to a minimum educational degree regardless of ability to pass a competency certification exam. If you select a program that does not meet the minimum requirements where you want to practice, you will not be able to practice legally.

Second, progressing in a career (even a career as a midwife) may mean obtaining additional education beyond your midwifery training. If you desire to progress to management, teaching, or research positions as a midwife, you may find the initial investment in an educational program that provides transferable credits (such as a baccalaureate level training course which can be used to apply to a master’s in health administration or education), may save you time later in your career.

The Competency Certification

A competency certification is a statement from an independent organization that you are safe to practice as a midwife.  It does not say you provide good care, or that you are the best midwife.  It simply shows that you have the minimum level of knowledge needed to be safe.

In midwifery, certification generally requires proof of a minimum level of education. For my certification, my midwifery school had to provide proof that I had successfully completed certain coursework and that I had been the lead midwife for a minimum number of births. The final step for most competency certification is a standardized test designed to ensure you understand how to provide care in normal and the most common abnormal situations.

After receiving certification, most organizations require re-certification after a designated period of time.  This is done to ensure you are staying up to date on research and still able to provide the minimum level of safe care. Re-certification may require proof of a certain number of births, proof of continuing education, or re-testing.

The Government Issued License

Once you have been certified as a competent midwife, most countries require you to register with the regional or national government as a provider of care. This allows a few things to happen.

First, it connects you to funding sources such as public insurance. Second, it provides potential employers an easily verified mechanism to ensure you will be competent as a midwife.  Third, it provides the government data on the total number of providers available as a step in ensuring adequate numbers of health care providers within each region.

What this means to you….

When evaluating the various educational opportunities available, you need to not only look what goes on within the program, but also what is available to you after completing the program.  In order for a program to be a good fit to you , it must provide a solid education AND meet your future needs in each of these three areas.


Direct Entry Midwifery

Sep 12th, 2014 Education, Training

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MidwiferyEducationLast time we talked about the basics of nurse-midwifery.  Today we will talk about what it means to be a  direct entry midwife. Just like nurse-midwifery, direct entry midwifery is a term that holds many types of training and practice.

The term direct entry midwifery is a bit awkward, and probably only exists in the United States (I haven’t heard any non-US midwives use it). It seems to be a term used to differentiate between midwives who are trained first as a nurse from those who were not — you are either a nurse-midwife or a direct entry midwife.  In the rest of the world midwives seem to be all called “midwives.” If they are differentiated, it seems to be based on where or how they practice rather than how they were trained.  Continue reading


Nurse Midwifery

Sep 10th, 2014 Education, Training

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MidwiferyEducationAs we talk about midwifery education, I wanted to spend some time exploring different ways of categorizing midwives. I have had the opportunity to meet and work with midwives from around the world, and I am always amazed at how these categories do not always mean what I had been trained to think they mean.

The first case in point is nurse midwifery, a common midwifery training where I live in the United States.  My training as a midwife is as a nurse midwife.  The question is, what does it mean to be a nurse midwife? Continue reading


Midwifery Regulation

Sep 8th, 2014 Education, Training

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MidwiferyEducationLast week we looked at the International Confederation of Midwives Core Competencies for Midwives and the Educational Standards as documents to help you evaluate your midwifery training options.  Today we will look at the ICM Core Documents on Midwifery Regulation as the final triad to helping us understand the unique challenges of midwifery in your corner of the world.

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ICM Educational Standards

Sep 5th, 2014 Education

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MidwiferyEducationEarlier this week I introduced you to the ICM Core Competencies for Midwifery. Today I want to introduce you the the ICM Education Standards for Midwifery.

The educational standards document is a bit different from the core competencies document because it deals with a different aspect of the process of becoming a midwife. Specifically, it deals with the quality of the training program rather than the quality of the student.  Continue reading


What does a midwife need to know?

Sep 3rd, 2014 Education

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MidwiferyEducationHave you ever wondered who decides what you need to know to be a midwife? This is an important question, because the answer to this question helps define who is (and is not) a midwife. The answer to this question defines the difference between a nurse and a midwife, a doula and a midwife, or a physician and a midwife. The answer to this question explains why midwifery is a unique form of health care, and also the limits of a midwife.  Continue reading


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