Today’s nurse midwives are experts in gynecologic and maternity care, using their skills to support and care for women through their pregnancy and birth experience, as well as throughout their lives, from adolescence through menopause.
The art of midwifery appeals to women seeking a personalized care experience and fewer invasive interventions. With their advanced education and broad scope of practice, nurse-midwives use the latest scientific procedures in combination with a whole-person approach to care.
According to the American College of Nurse-Midwives, Kansas was home to 81 certified nurse-midwives as of 2015. In 2013, Kansas’s certified nurse-midwives attended 1,920 births, or about 7 percent of all vaginal births in the state that year.
Certified nurse-midwives in Kansas have authorization to perform the following:
- Provide independent nursing diagnosis
- Develop and manage the medical plan of care for patients based on collaborative practice
- Provide healthcare services
- Provide healthcare for women, focusing on gynecological needs, pregnancy, childbirth, the postpartum period, care of the newborn, and family planning
- Provide innovation in evidence-based nursing practice
- Serve as a consultant, researcher, and patient advocate for individuals, families, groups, and communities
Steps to Becoming a Nurse-Midwife in Kansas
The Kansas State Board of Nursing requires RNs with aspirations of becoming nurse-midwives to become licensed as Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) in the nurse-midwifery specialty.
To learn how to achieve an APRN license in nurse-midwifery in Kansas, follow the steps in this guide:
|Earn a Qualifying Degree in Nurse Midwifery|
|Take and Pass the National Certification Examinations|
|Apply for APRN Licensure as a Nurse-Midwife through the Kansas State Board of Nursing|
|Work to Maintain National Certification and State Licensure|
Step 1. Earn a Qualifying Degree in Nurse Midwifery
The path to an APRN nurse-midwifery license in Kansas begins with the completion of a master’s degree or higher graduate degree in nurse-midwifery through a program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME). ACME remains the sole accrediting agency for nurse-midwifery schools in the U.S.
For Kansas RNs with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in nurse-midwifery or a Master of Science (MS) in Nurse Midwifery remains the standard educational degree. However, because not all RNs possess bachelor’s degrees, a number of ACME-accredited programs exist to accommodate RNs with different educational backgrounds. For example:
- RN-to-MSN Programs accommodate RNs who possess an associate’s degree in nursing and must therefore complete both their undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing.
- Post-Graduate Certificates accommodate RNs with a master’s degree in nursing seeking initial APRN licensure or APRNs seeking an additional specialization in nurse-midwifery
Today’s master’s degrees in nurse-midwifery offer a number of options to accommodate the needs of today’s practicing professionals. For example:
- Online Format: Many nurse-midwifery programs are now offered in a fully or partially online format. Because of the lack of nurse-midwifery programs throughout the U.S. (there is just one in Kansas, located in Lawrence), online programs have become essential. The flexible scheduling of these programs also accommodates the needs of busy working professionals.
- Part-Time Format: Part-time programs allow RNs to complete their nurse-midwifery degree at a pace that better accommodates the schedules of working professionals. Full-time midwifery programs take about two years to complete, whereas part-time programs take about three years to complete.
- Dual Specialization: A popular dual specialization for nurse-midwifery students is the nurse-midwifery/women’s health program, which prepares students to take the national certification examinations for both a nurse-midwife and a women’s health nurse practitioner so as to hold both APRN specializations.
Nurse-Midwifery and Nurse-Midwifery/Women’s Health Program Components
Nurse-midwifery and nurse-midwifery/women’s health programs prepare nurses to practice at an advanced level. Graduates of these programs serve newborns and women during the antepartum, intrapartum, and post-partum periods, and also serve as primary care providers throughout their lifespan.
Upon the successful completion of a nurse-midwifery program, graduates are eligible to take the national certification examination through the American Midwifery Certification Board.
A nurse-midwifery master’s degree consists of two components: a didactic component and a clinical component. The didactic component of a master’s degree in nurse-midwifery consists of core APRN courses and specialty courses in nurse-midwifery:
- Theoretical foundations of nursing
- Ethics, policy, and health care advocacy
- Organizational and systems leadership
- Research and evidence as a foundation in nursing
- Advanced health assessment
- Pharmacology for advanced nursing practice
- Advanced concepts in women’s healthcare management across the lifespan
- Advanced concepts in antepartum management
- Advanced concepts in postpartum and newborn management
- Nurse-midwifery care during labor and birth
The clinical component of a master’s degree in nurse-midwifery, which may consist of up to 1,000 hours of clinical experience, allows students to explore the practice of nurse-midwifery in clinical settings, such as birthing centers, hospitals, and OB/GYN practices. Just a few of the sites in Kansas where students may complete portions of their clinical practicum include:
- Luke’s Hospital of Kansas, Kansas City
- North Kansas City Hospital, North Kansas City
- Center for Women’s Care, Kansas City
- Shawnee Mission Health, Shawnee Mission Medical Center, Shawnee Mission
- Saint Francis Health, Topeka
- Wesley Medical Center, Wichita
Today’s institutions offering online nurse-midwifery programs often partner with medical facilities throughout the U.S, which allow students to complete the clinical portion of their master’s degree at facilities close to home.
Most RNs seeking admission to a master’s degree program in nurse-midwifery hold a Bachelor of Science (BSN) from an accredited college or university and a current and unencumbered RN license. Many programs also require candidates to possess:
- Minimum undergraduate GPA
- Minimum GRE scores
- Admissions essay
- Letters of recommendation
- Resume and specific work experience
Step 2. Take and Pass the National Certification Examinations
Graduates of master’s degrees in nurse-midwifery are eligible to take the Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) certification examination through the American Midwifery Certification Board.
Graduates of master’s degrees in nurse-midwifery/women’s health also have the option of taking the Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) examination through the National Certification Corporation.
Both examinations consist of 175 multiple-choice questions. Candidates must apply to take the examinations and wait for approval before scheduling the exams through one of the Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP) testing centers located throughout the U.S. In Kansas, candidates may take their examinations through one of the AMP testing centers located in Olathe and Wichita.
Step 3. Apply for APRN Licensure as a Nurse-Midwife through the Kansas State Board of Nursing
To apply for APRN licensure as a nurse-midwife in Kansas, applicants must complete the Advanced Practice Application. All applicants must:
- Possess a current and unencumbered RN license in Kansas
- Include a $50 application fee
- Complete a fingerprint card (instructions are included in the application)
- Request official transcripts with degree posted to be sent to Board
Collaborative Practice Agreement
Under current Kansas law, nurse-midwives must practice under a collaborative practice agreement, which requires a physician signature before providing healthcare services and prescribing medications.
Step 4. Work to Maintain National Certification and State Licensure
Certified Nurse Midwives in Kansas must ensure they maintain their APRN license through the Kansas Board of Nursing and certification(s) through the national certifying bodies.
APRN License Renewal Requirements – Kansas Board of Nursing
APRN licenses in Kansas must be renewed every two years. All APRNs in Kansas must provide proof of the completion of at least 30 contact hours of continuing education approved by the Board. The cost of APRN license renewal is $55.
CNM Renewal Requirements – American Midwifery Certification Board
Certified nurse midwives must also complete 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 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 Renewal Requirements – National Certification Corporation
The National Certification Corporation (NCC) 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 Nurse-Midwives in Kansas
Kansas’s nurse-midwives enjoy a wide array of professional opportunities through hospitals, women’s health clinics, and OB/GYN practices, such as:
- Kansas City Women’s Clinic, Quivira
- Center for Women’s Health, Overland Park
- Mid Kansas Women’s Center, Wichita
- The University of Kansas Hospital, Kansas City
- Neosho Memorial Regional Medical Center, Chanute
Currently, Kansas it home to just three birthing centers, which is exciting news for nurse-midwives looking to start their own business. Professional associations in Kansas may provide these APRNs with vital resources for starting their own midwifery practice:
Salaries for Certified Nurse-Midwives in Kansas
The Kansas Department of Labor reported that the median salary among certified nurse-midwives in the state was $53,670 as of 2014.
The employment site Indeed.com provides additional information on the salaries of certified nurse-midwives in Kansas. This site aggregates the starting salaries associated with jobs advertised over the previous year. As of November 2015, a clinic in Southwestern Kansas was recruiting for a Midwife/NP or FNP, offering a starting salary of $91,000.
Though the vast majority of certified nurse-midwives work in hospital obstetric wards, CNMs are increasingly in demand throughout the country among women who want to give birth in less conventional settings such as birthing centers and even at home. As a result, New Birth Company in Overland Park actively recruits CNMs from around the country to help ensure the women of Kansas have the option to give birth in the comfort of their homes if they choose.
Eighty-nine certified nurse-midwives were licensed in Kansas in 2013 according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. The Kansas Department of Labor predicts that their numbers will increase rapidly, publishing projections showing that the number of jobs for CNMs in the state is expected to increase by 25.9% during the ten-year period leading up to 2022.
How Certified Nurse-Midwives Help Mitigate the Shortage of OB-GYNs in Kansas
Rural Kansas suffers from a shortage of primary care providers, an issue that is impacting the health of its residents. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment Bureau of Community Health Services analyzed this problem in its Primary Care Health Professional Underserved Areas Report on Kansas for 2014. This report identified 53 counties in Kansas that met the criteria for being declared medically underserved by the state’s governor based on physician survey data from 2012.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) further described this critical shortage in its 2014 ACOG Workforce Fact Sheet: Kansas. The ACOG found the ratio of OB/GYNs per 10,000 women aged 15-45 in Kansas to be only 90% that of the national average.
When the Congress examined the location of OB/GYNs in Kansas, they found that 77 of the 105 counties in Kansas did not have a single OB/GYN. This results in a dire situation in which residents in medically underserved areas have a drive time of at least an hour to the nearest hospital with a maternity center. Certified nurse-midwives are viewed as key to providing obstetric and gynecological care in areas of the state with a critical shortage of OB-GYN physicians.