Idaho’s nurse-midwives provide women with a full range of primary healthcare services throughout their lifespan. Although prenatal care, labor, and delivery tend to be the centerpiece of the nurse-midwife profession, these advanced practice registered nurses provide safe and competent care to women and their families before, during and after childbearing years.
From well woman care to family planning to menopausal care and beyond, today’s nurse-midwives provide women with individualized care throughout all stages of their lives.
According to the American College of Nurse-Midwives, there were 53 practicing midwives in Idaho as of 2015. Certified nurse-midwives attended nearly 1,800 births in Idaho in 2013, safely facilitating more than 10 percent of all vaginal births in the state that year.
As of 2015, there were just nine midwifery birth centers in Idaho. The lack of birth centers and a growing demand for nurse-midwives in hospitals, birth centers, and private women’s health practices may present a number of exciting opportunities for RNs in Idaho looking to advance their education and expand their scope of practice.
Steps to Becoming a Nurse-Midwife in Idaho
RNs in Idaho interested in earning an Advanced Practice Professional Nurse (APPN) license in nurse-midwifery must meet specific education and certification requirements as outlined by the Idaho Board of Nursing. Follow these steps to learn how to become a nurse-midwife in Idaho:
|Earn a Qualifying Degree in Nurse Midwifery|
|Take and Pass the National Certification Examinations|
|Apply for APPN Licensure through the Idaho Board of Nursing|
|Maintain National Certification and your Nurse-Midwife License|
Step 1. Earn a Qualifying Degree in Nurse Midwifery
The first step an Idaho RN must take to become a nurse-midwife is to earn a graduate degree through a program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME).
Master’s Degree Programs in Nurse-Midwifery and Nurse-Midwifery/Women’s Health
For bachelor’s prepared RNs in Idaho, the standard degree is the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a concentration or focus in nurse-midwifery. Some institutions also design these programs as the Master of Science (MS) in Nurse-Midwifery.
However, graduate degrees for currently practicing RNs may also accommodate students with differing educational backgrounds, such as:
- RN-to-MSN programs: Designed for RNs with an associate’s degree in nursing
- Post-graduate certificates: Designed for APRNs seeking to add a CNM designation to their license or for master’s prepared RNs seeking initial APRN licensure
Although most master’s degree programs allow students to focus their study exclusively on nurse-midwifery, a number of institutions now offer master’s degrees with a dual focus in nurse-midwifery and women’s health, providing RNs with the option of earning two national certifications and expanding their area of expertise.
Many schools have begun offering these master’s programs online, allowing students to successfully earn qualifying degrees regardless of their geographic location. This is particularly beneficial in Idaho, since nurse-midwifery programs are not available through any campus locations in the state.
Graduates of these programs qualify to take the national certification examination in nurse-midwifery through the American Midwifery Board. Graduates of master’s degree programs with a dual focus in nurse-midwifery and women’s health qualify to take both the nurse-midwifery examination and the Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner examination through the National Certification Corporation.
A master’s degree in nurse-midwifery, which consists of about two years of full-time study or three years of part-time study, includes a didactic component and a clinical component.
Didactic study covers all necessary topics required to independently manage women’s healthcare, with a focus on pregnancy, childbirth, the post-partum period, care of the newborn, gynecological needs of women, and family planning. Core coursework therefore includes:
- Advanced physiology and pathophysiology across the lifespan
- Advanced health assessment
- Antepartum care
- Health promotion and management of acute health problems
- Intrapartum, post-partum, and newborn care
Students of master’s degrees in nurse-midwifery or nurse-midwifery/women’s health enjoy a full range of clinical experiences in community hospitals, birth centers, home settings, and medical centers. While campus-based programs require students to complete their clinical experiences at sites within a close proximity to the institution, online programs often partner with clinical sites across the country, thus allowing students to satisfy their clinical requirements at sites close to home. Just a few of the clinical sites in Idaho where nurse-midwife students may satisfy the clinical component of their master’s degree include:
- Eastern Idaho Regional Medical, Idaho Falls
- Mountain View Hospital, Idaho Falls
- Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center, Twin Falls
- Leavitt Women’s Healthcare, Idaho Falls
Step 2. Take and Pass the National Certification Examinations
Candidates for APPN licensure in Idaho must take and pass the appropriate national certification examinations after completing a qualifying degree program.
- Graduates of master’s degrees with a focus in nurse-midwifery must take and pass the AMCB certification examination of the American Midwifery Certification Board to become a certified nurse-midwife (CNM).
- Graduates of master’s degrees with a focus in nurse-midwifery and women’s health may also take and pass the Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) examination through the National Certification Corporation to become a WHNP.
Idaho RNs who take and pass both examinations may apply for dual APPN licensure with the Idaho Board of Nursing.
Both the CNM and the WHNP examination require candidates to complete an application and receive approval before they can schedule to take the exam(s) through an Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP) testing center. In Idaho, candidates may take their certification examinations at the AMP testing center in Meridian.
Step 3. Apply for APPN Licensure through the Idaho Board of Nursing
Candidates for APPN licensure in Idaho must complete, sign, and send an Application for Initial Licensure Advanced Practice Professional Nurse (checking the CNM designation or the CNM and NP designations) to the Idaho Board of Nursing, along with the following:
- An APPN application fee of $90
- Official transcripts sent directly from the institution to the Board of Nursing
- Copy of the CNM designation (and the WHNP designation, if applicable)
Idaho is an independent practice state, meaning that any required relationships with physician or other providers do not necessitate a contractual agreement.
CNMs in Idaho seeking prescriptive authority must fill out the Application for Prescriptive and Dispensing Authorization for Prescriptive Authority (included in the application package) and send it to the Board, along with an additional fee of $50.
Step 4. Maintain National Certification and your Nurse-Midwife License
APPN Licensure Renewal through the Idaho Board of Nursing
CNMs in Idaho must renew their APPN licenses at the same time as their RN licenses—on August 31 of odd-numbered years. CNMs may complete the renewal process entirely online.
All CNMs in Idaho must complete 30 contact hours of continuing education during each renewal period. CNMs can read more about acceptable CE activities here.
In addition to keeping their APPN licenses current, CNMs in Idaho must also ensure they maintain their professional designation(s):
CNM Certification Renewal through the American Midwifery Certification Board
The American Midwifery Certification Board features a Certification Maintenance Program, which allows CNMs to satisfy their continuing education requirements by completing one of the following:
- Option 1: Complete at least 3 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 Certification Renewal through the National Certification Corporation
The National Certification Corporate 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 the results of the assessment.
Resources for Nurse-Midwives in Idaho
Nurse-midwives enjoy a wide array of professional opportunities through Idaho hospitals, clinics, and OB/GYN practices, such as:
- Pocatello Women’s Health Clinic, Pocatello
- Luke’s Clinic – The Women’s Clinic, Boise
- EIRMC – Women and Infants Center, Idaho Falls
- Life Springs Women’s Clinic, Idaho Falls
- Women’s Medical Clinic, Nampa
- Rosemark WomenCare Specialists, Idaho Falls
Newly licensed APPN nurse-midwives in Idaho may also consider starting their own midwifery practice or birthing center. Idaho’s professional associations are often valuable sources of information and assistance when branching out into private practice:
- Idaho Midwifery Council
- Idaho Nurses Association
- Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry
- Small Business Development Center Idaho
Salaries for Certified Nurse-Midwives in Idaho
The median salary among nurse midwives in Idaho was $68,200 as of 2014 according to the state’s Department of Labor. Nurse midwives with salaries within the 90th percentile earned an average of $79,290 that year, while CNMs just entering the field and earning within the tenth percentile made an average of $45,190.
This data does not discriminate between nurse midwives who work full-time and those who do not. Salary data from the Idaho Department of Labor’s Idaho Nursing Overview from 2015 indicated that the median salary among full-time certified nurse-midwives in Idaho was $88,562 as of 2013.
Fifty-three certified nurse-midwives practiced in Idaho in 2014 according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. In Idaho, the demand is high for advanced practice registered nurses such as CNMs, and it only continues to grow. The Idaho Department of Labor expects the number of jobs for certified nurse-midwives in the state to increase by 2.9% a year between 2012 and 2022. This rate of job growth is significantly higher than that predicted for nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists in state.
How CNMs Make Up for the Shortage of OB/GYN Physicians in Idaho
The Idaho Department of Labor analyzed the data on the number of physicians in the state in its 2012-2013 white paper Idaho Primary Care Physicians Workforce Overview. While this document focused on a number of categories of physicians, its analysis on the number of obstetricians and gynecologists in the state identified a severe deficiency. Women have come to rely on certified nurse-midwives to provide obstetric and gynecological care in areas of Idaho that lack adequate numbers of OB/GYN physicians.
Idaho ranked 47th in the country for the number of active OB/GYN physicians per 100,000 residents. Nationally, the average ratio was 14.5 per 100,000 residents, while in Idaho it was just 9.4.
Significant regional differences exist among the locations of active obstetricians and gynecologists in Idaho, and the demand for nurse-midwives tend to be higher in areas with the most critical shortages of OB/GYN physicians. As of 2012, the number of OB/GYNs per 100,000 residents in various areas of Idaho was as follows:
- South Central Idaho – 6.5
- Eastern Idaho – 7.2
- North Central Idaho – 7.6
- Southeastern Idaho – 9
- Northern Idaho – 9.4
- Southwestern Idaho – 11.3
How Idaho’s Nurse Residency Program Benefits CNMs and Other APRNs
In an effort to improve the number of advanced practice nurses in Idaho such as nurse midwives, the state obtained a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2013 to set up a nurse residency program. This program targeted critical access hospitals in Idaho that are not connected to a health system. Four hospitals chose to participate in the pilot phase, which started in 2014:
- Lost Rivers Medical Center – Arco
- Steele Memorial Medical Center – Salmon
- Syringa Hospital & Clinics – Grangeville
- Walter Knox Memorial Hospital – Emmett