The rising number of Caesarean births, episiotomies and other invasive and often-unnecessary medical interventions are just a few of the many reasons why more and more women are turning to nurse-midwives for care before, during and after pregnancy. Expectant mothers searching for a more holistic approach to pregnancy, labor and delivery, are turning their attention to nurse-midwives, whose patient-focused philosophy is increasingly favored over traditional OB-GYN care.
Today’s nurse-midwives, although often thought of for their maternal care, are licensed independent healthcare providers for women, providing comprehensive gynecological care throughout a woman’s lifespan. Many nurse-midwives also provide care to newborns during the first 28 days of their lives.
According to the American College of Nurse-Midwives, as of 2015, there were 447 nurse-midwives and certified midwives working in Georgia. In 2018, approximately 11-13.69% of births in Georgia were attended by midwives, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Health Statistics.
The Georgia Board of Nursing recognizes certified nurse-midwives as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) capable of independently managing women’s healthcare, focusing on pregnancy, childbirth, the postpartum period, care of the newborn, family planning and the gynecological needs of women.
Steps to Becoming a Nurse-Midwife in Georgia
Registered nurses (RNs) in Georgia interested in becoming certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) must meet specific education, experience, and examination requirements to achieve an APRN license through the Georgia Board of Nursing:
|Earn a Qualifying Degree in Nurse Midwifery|
|Take and Pass the National Certification Examinations|
|Apply for APRN Authority through the Georgia Board of Nursing|
|Now That You’re a Nurse-Midwife in Georgia|
Step 1. Earn a Qualifying Degree in Nurse Midwifery
Before practicing as a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) in Georgia, RNs must qualify for the CNM designation and APRN licensure through the Georgia Board of Nursing, both of which require a master’s degree or other post-graduate degree.
RNs may attend online or campus-based schools that offer MSN programs with a focus on nurse-midwifery or a dual focus on nurse-midwifery/women’s health.
Master’s Degree Programs in Nurse-Midwifery and Nurse-Midwifery/Women’s Health
RNs seeking APRN authorization as a nurse-midwife in Georgia must complete an MSN program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME).
Currently, Georgia is home to just one midwifery education program, located in Atlanta. However, thanks to the many online programs available to RNs seeking graduate-level study to become APRNs, earning a master’s degree in nurse-midwifery has never been easier.
MSN degrees in nurse-midwifery and nurse-midwifery/women’s health provides RNs with advanced education in antepartum, intrapartum, postpartum, family planning and other selected aspects of well-women’s healthcare. Graduates of these programs earn eligibility to take the certification examination offered through the American Midwifery Certification Board.
Graduates of nurse-midwifery/women’s health dual focus MSN programs earn eligibility to also take the Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) examination through the National Certification Corporation.
Master’s programs are designed in one of a number of different ways, each designed to cater to an RN’s current level of education. Admission requirements differ accordingly, for example:
- Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degrees are designed for RNs who possess a bachelor’s degree
- RN-to-MSN programs are designed for RNs who currently hold an associate’s degree in nursing
- Post-graduate APRN certificates for current APRNs seeking to become CNMs
To qualify for an MSN program in nurse-midwifery, RNs typically possess:
- A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
- Current RN license
- Minimum undergraduate GPA
- Minimum GRE scores
- Letters of recommendation
- Admission essay or letter of intent
MSN programs are usually two years in duration, with part-time programs running about three years. These programs consist of two components: classroom study and clinical practice.
Nurse-midwifery programs are competency-based, with a focus on the nurse-midwifery management process in women’s health and primary care throughout the lifespan.
Program content includes core coursework in areas such as:
- Health assessment
MSN programs in nurse-midwifery encompass up to 1,000 hours of clinical experience, which provides students with the opportunity to receive practical experience in all aspects of the midwifery practice. Campus-based programs usually include nearby clinical practice sites. Online programs often partner with clinical sites throughout the country, which allow students to choose sites located in a reasonable proximity to their home.
Clinical sites in Georgia may include:
- Eastside Medical Center, Snellville
- Emory Johns Creek Hospital, Johns Creek
- Emory University Hospital Midtown, Atlanta
- Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Gainesville
- Southern Regional Medical Center, Riverdale
Step 2. Take and Pass the National Certification Examinations
RNs who have successfully graduated from an MSN program focused on nurse-midwifery are eligible to take the AMCB certification examination through the American Midwifery Certification Board.
RNs who have successfully graduated from an MSN program dually focused on nurse-midwifery/women’s health are eligible to take the AMCB certification examination, as well as the Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) examination through the National Certification Corporation.
Both the AMCB and the WHNP are computer-based tests consisting of 175 multiple-choice questions. Candidates must complete a valid examination application to earn approval as a candidate for certification. Candidates complete one or both examinations through an Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP) testing center of their choice. In Georgia, AMP testing centers are located in the following cities:
Step 3. Apply for APRN Authority through the Georgia Board of Nursing
Before RNs in Georgia can engage in advanced practice nursing as a nurse-midwife, they must apply for APRN authorization through the Georgia Board of Nursing. Applicants for APRN authorization must possess an active Georgia RN license and submit the following to the Board:
- Application for Authorization as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse
- Application fee of $60
- Official college transcripts
- Verification of active, national certification in nurse-midwifery and/or women’s health
- Verification of a master’s degree or other graduate degree approved by the Board
- Verification of employment documenting at least three months/500 hours of APRN practice OR proof of graduation from an approved nursing program within four years of the date of the application
Licensed APRNs in Georgia seeking prescriptive authority receive approval through the Georgia Composite Medical Board. APRNs writing prescriptions in Georgia must submit a nurse protocol agreement to the Board. Both the APRN and the delegating physician must sign the agreement.
Step 4. Now That You’re a Nurse-Midwife in Georgia
CNMs in Georgia must ensure they maintain both their APRN authority and their professional certification(s).
APRN Authority Renewal Requirements (Georgia Board of Nursing)
The Georgia Board of Nursing has an online APRN licensure renewal process. All licenses expire on January 31 of even or odd years, simultaneously with RN licenses. Effective in 2016, all RNs in Georgia must complete continuing education/competency requirements as a condition of license renewal.
Georgia law provides RNs with five options to choose from to satisfy the continuing competency requirements, detailed here.
CNM Renewal Requirements (American Midwifery Certification Board)
CNMs complete their continuing education requirements by following The American Midwifery Certification Board’s Certification Maintenance Program, which requires completing one of the following options:
- Option 1: Complete at least three AMCB Certificate Maintenance Modules during each five-year certification cycle and at least 20 contact hours of approved continuing education units; pay annual fees
- Option 2: Retake the AMCB Certification Examination and pay the $500 examination fee in lieu of annual fees
WHNP Renewal Requirements (National Certification Corporation)
The National Certification Corporation requires WHNPs to take a continuing competency assessment at the beginning of each three-year maintenance cycle and complete a specific number of continuing education credits hours based on their performance.
Resources for CNMs and WHNPs in Georgia
APRN authority as a nurse-midwife opens up a wide array of professional opportunities for RNs in Georgia. This may include achieving employment or earning career advancement at an independent clinic, expanding OB-GYN practice, or at one of the state’s large hospitals/medical centers:
- Georgia Center for Female Health, Norcross
- West Georgia Health: Women’s Health Center, LaGrange
- LaGrange Women’s Health Professional Group of West Georgia, LaGrange
- Women’s Healthcare Center of Georgia, Austell
- Center for Women’s Health at the Longstreet Clinic, Cornelia
- Women’s Health Group, Brunswick
- Academia of Women’s Health and Endoscopic Surgery, Atlanta
- Northeast Georgia Health System, Women & Children’s Pavilion
- Emory University Hospital Midtown, Atlanta
- Southern OB/GYN, Valdosta
- Atlanta Medical Center, Atlanta
Many CNMs may also choose to open their own practice. Professional associations in Georgia may serve as beneficial resources for starting or advancing a practice in nurse-midwifery:
- Georgia Midwifery Association
- American College of Nurse-Midwives, Georgia Affiliate
- Central Georgia Advanced Practice Registered Nurses
- APRN Council of Coastal Georgia
- United Advanced Practice Registered Nurses of Georgia
Salaries for Certified Nurse-Midwives in Georgia
Statewide, Georgia had the third-highest number of nurse midwives of any state in the nation as of 2019, while the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta area had the fourth-highest number of nurse midwives of any metropolitan area in the country. Even so, the number of certified nurse-midwives in Georgia is growing rapidly.
Analyses of the number of nurse midwives in Georgia indicate their numbers are growing even more rapidly than predicted. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 220 nurse midwives practiced in Georgia in May 2019. The average annual salary for certified nurse midwives in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell metro area was $118,780 per year, with entry-level nurses in the 10th percentile earning $79,790 per year and experienced nurses in the 90th percentile earning an average annual salary of $168,530.
(Salary data for nurse-midwives reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2019. Figures represent state data, not school-specific information. Job growth data provided by Projections Central, a resource funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. Conditions in your area may vary. Information accessed March 2021.)