Nurse-midwives are valued practitioners throughout the United States—and Louisiana is no exception. These advanced practice nurses offer healthcare services to women of all ages and stages of life. Thanks to their advanced education, nurse-midwives remain some of the most forward-thinking healthcare providers in the U.S. today.
Although traditionally sought out by women during their childbearing years, nurse-midwives also provide care to women from adolescence through menopause, where their medical expertise, personalized attention, and focus on low-tech interventions allow them to provide:
- General healthcare services
- Family planning services
- Treatment of sexually transmitted diseases
- Gynecological examinations
- Menopausal care
As of 2015, the American College of Nurse-Midwives reported that a total of 52 certified nurse-midwives were licensed to practice in Louisiana. The state’s certified nurse-midwives attended nearly 1,700 births in Louisiana in 2013 alone, or slightly more than 4 percent of all deliveries that year.
Steps to Becoming a Nurse-Midwife in Louisiana
The Louisiana State Board of Nursing sets forth the requirements necessary to become an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) in the nurse-midwife role, which encompasses the successful completion of the following steps:
Note: Louisiana is just one of 28 states to also recognize the certified professional midwife (CPM). The CPM is not an advanced practice nursing role and therefore cannot achieve the nurse-midwife designation through the Louisiana State Board of Nursing. Instead, certified professional midwives are licensed by The Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners and certified by the North American Registry of Midwives.
|Earn a Qualifying Degree in Nurse-Midwifery|
|Pass the National Certification Examinations|
|Apply for APRN Licensure as a Nurse-Midwife through the Louisiana State Board of Nursing|
|Now That You’re a Nurse-Midwife in Louisiana|
Step 1. Earn a Qualifying Degree in Nurse-Midwifery
RNs in Louisiana interested in expanding their professional scope of practice and earning APRN licensure in Louisiana as a nurse-midwife must first complete a master’s degree or higher through a program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME).
Educational options for RNs in Louisiana seeking nurse-midwifery graduate degrees include:
- Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in nurse-midwifery or Master of Science (MS) in Nurse Midwifery: An MSN or MS degree in nurse-midwifery is the ideal educational path for RNs in Louisiana who possess a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).
- RN-to-MSN: RN-to-MSN degree programs accommodate Louisiana RNs who possess an associate’s degree. These degree programs, offered in an accelerated format, combine the components of both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in nursing with a midwifery specialization.
- Post-Graduate Certificate Programs: Post-graduate certificate programs in nurse-midwifery appeal to currently licensed APRNs seeking an additional APRN specialty in nurse-midwifery or master’s-prepared RNs seeking initial APRN as a nurse-midwife.
Many ACME-accredited programs offer unique features for today’s busy RNs, such as:
- Dual Specialization: Many master’s degrees in nurse-midwifery provide students with the opportunity to achieve dual specialization. One such program gaining in popularity is the nurse-midwifery/women’s health master’s degree. Upon graduation, students of this type of programs are eligible to achieve the Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) and the Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) designations in Louisiana, thus expanding their practice opportunities.
- Part-Time Study: Most institutions offering nurse-midwifery degree programs provide students with the option to complete the program on a full-time or part-time basis. Full-time programs take about two years to complete, while part-time programs take about three years.
- Online Study: Because of the lack of nurse-midwifery programs in the U.S., (There are currently no nurse-midwifery programs in Louisiana.) many accredited schools offer students the opportunity to complete some or all of their coursework through online study.
Master’s Degrees in Nurse-Midwifery and Nurse-Midwifery/Women’s Health Program Components
Nurse-midwifery master’s degrees consist of a didactic (classroom study) component and a clinical component. The didactic component provides students with a rich theoretical and research-based foundation, along with study in the business of healthcare and the role of the nurse-midwife in the system of healthcare at the local, national, and international levels.
Core coursework in these programs includes the study of:
- Advanced health assessment and clinical reasoning
- Pathophysiology concepts
- Women’s health for nurse-midwifery
- Advanced pharmacotherapeutics
- Advanced practice nursing in primary care of the adult
- Antepartum care for nurse-midwifery
- Skills for nurse-midwifery
- Intrapartum/postpartum care for nurse-midwifery
- APN role within the U.S. healthcare delivery system
Rotations in a variety of clinical settings enhance the didactic component of a master’s degree in nurse-midwifery. The clinical component of a master’s degree in nurse-midwifery, which may consist of up to 1,000 hours, provides students with real-world exposure and hands-on learning.
Online programs often partner with clinical sites throughout the U.S, which allow students to satisfy the clinical component of their program at sites close to home.
Just a few of the institutions in Louisiana where nurse-midwife students may complete part of their clinical training includes:
- Women’s Hospital, Baton Rouge
- Center for Women’s Healthcare, Baton Rouge
- Women & Children’s Hospital, Lafayette
- Lake Charles Memorial Hospital for Women, Lake Charles
Step 2. Pass the National Certification Examinations
After graduating from a nurse-midwife master’s degree program, candidates must take and pass the Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) examination through the American Midwifery Certification Board.
In addition to the CNM examination, graduates of nurse-midwifery/women’s health programs may also take the Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) examination through the National Certification Corporation if they desire dual recognition in both APRN specializations.
Candidates must apply to take both the CNM and the WHNP examinations and receive approval before scheduling their examinations through one of the Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP) testing centers in the U.S.
For Louisiana test takers, there are AMP testing centers located in Baton Rouge, Metairie, and Shreveport.
Step 3. Apply for APRN Licensure as a Nurse-Midwife through the Louisiana State Board of Nursing
Upon earning a master’s degree in nurse-midwifery and achieving national certification as a CNM, candidates for APRN licensure as a nurse-midwife must:
- Complete, sign, and submit the Application for Advanced Practice Registered Nurse License
- Submit $140.75 to cover the $100 application fee and the $40.75 criminal background check fee
- Complete Verification of Advanced Practice Education form (form AP2 included in application packet)
- Complete Verification of National Certification (form AP3 included in application packet)
- Complete Authorization to Disclose Criminal History Record Information forms (forms CB1 included in application packet)
If applying for an additional APRN role, such as the WHNP, applicants must request approval from the Board by completing the Request for APRN Licensure in an Additional APRN Role/Population Focus/Specialty form.
Collaborative Practice Agreement
All nurse-midwives in Louisiana must enter into a collaborative practice agreement with at least one licensed physician. A Collaborative Practice Agreement template must be completed and sent in with the application forms.
Prescriptive Authority Privileges
CNMs in Louisiana seeking prescriptive authority privileges must complete an Initial Prescriptive Authority application.
Step 4. Now That You’re a Nurse-Midwife in Louisiana
Nurse-midwives in Louisiana are responsible for renewing their APRN license and national certification(s) in accordance with the requirements of the respective authority.
APRN License Renewal through the Louisiana Board of Nursing
Nurse-midwives in Louisiana must complete the renewal applications for their RN and APRN licenses between October 1 and December 31 every year through the Louisiana Nurse Portal. The cost of renewal is $100. CNMs with prescriptive authority must complete at least six contact/credit hours of continuing education in pharmacotherapeutics (pharmacology).
CNM Certification Renewal through the American Midwifery Certification Board
CNMs can satisfy their continuing education requirements through the American Midwifery Certification Board’s Certification Maintenance Program, which requires CNMs to complete 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
WHNPs in Louisiana must take the NCC’s continuing competency assessment at the beginning of each three-year maintenance cycle and complete a specific number of continuing education credit hours based on the results of the assessment.
Resources for Nurse-Midwives in Louisiana
Nurse-midwives in Louisiana enjoy a wide array of professional opportunities in settings ranging from large hospital systems to small women’s clinics and OB/GYN practices:
- Louisiana Women’s Healthcare Associates, Baton Rouge
- Women’s Clinic of Southwest Louisiana, DeRidder
- Bayou Regional Women’s Clinic, Zachary
- Women’s Clinic, Minden
- Care Pregnancy Clinic, Baton Rouge
Recent job posts (November 2015) provide insight into the types of jobs available to nurse-midwives in Louisiana (Shown for illustrative purposes only and does not constitute a job offer):
- Certified Nurse Midwife, women’s health clinic, Ochsner Health System, New Orleans
- Certified Nurse Midwife, labor and delivery, LSU Healthcare Network, New Orleans
With just two birth centers in Louisiana as of 2015, nurse-midwives with aspirations of getting their own birth center or private midwifery practice off the ground may find Louisiana to be the ideal environment for establishing a patient base. Some of the professional associations in Louisiana that may serve as beneficial resources for nurse-midwives interested in starting their own practice include:
- Louisiana Midwives Association
- Louisiana State Nurses Association
- Louisiana Small Business Development Center
Salaries for Certified Nurse-Midwives in Louisiana
According to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, as of 2014 the median certified nurse-midwife salary in the state was more than $5,700 higher than the national median for CNMs. At $102,672, the median salary among Louisiana’s CNMs was also significantly higher than the median for nurse practitioners and physician assistants in the state.
Few healthcare professions offer as much potential for salary growth over the course of a career. According to the Commission’s 2014 report, experienced nurse midwives in Louisiana earned an average of $107,289, in dramatic contrast to those new to the field who earned an average of just $64,128 that year.
Demand for Nurse-Midwifery Services Drives Job Growth for CNMs in Louisiana
In 2012, the Louisiana Workforce Commission predicted that the number of jobs for certified nurse-midwives would increase by 17.1% during the ten-year period leading up to 2022; however, more recent trends suggest that actual growth may be much higher than predicted.
According to the 2014 annual report published by the Louisiana Nursing Board, 32 CNMs were licensed to practice in the state that year. This represented an increase of 28% in the number of certified nurse-midwives in practice in Louisiana in the previous year.
Slightly more than half of Louisiana’s CNMs practiced in hospitals as of 2014 according to the state’s Workforce Commission. The Commission analyzed the career trajectory of certified nurse-midwives over a five-year period to find the types of jobs CNMs in the state transitioned from:
- Registered Nurses: 3%
- Nursing Assistants: 7%
- Licensed Practical Nurses: 5%
Medicaid started covering the cost of delivery services for patients at qualifying freestanding birthing centers effective July 2015. Certified nurse-midwives are among the healthcare professionals who can bill for childbirth services at these centers.
According data published by the American College of Nurse-Midwives, in Louisiana more certified nurse-midwives than physicians facilitated Medicaid-covered births in 2012. That year, certified nurse-midwives attended almost 73% of Medicaid-covered deliveries in the state, compared to just 65.7% attended by physicians.
Advertised Salaries for Certified Nurse-Midwives in New Orleans
LSU Healthcare Network and Ochsner Baptist in New Orleans both advertised jobs for certified nurse-midwives in November 2015. By aggregating salary data for identical positions over the previous year, Indeed.com estimated that the average starting salary for certified nurse-midwives in New Orleans in the year leading up to November 2015 was $73,000.