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Online Midwifery Schools Offering CNM Masters Degrees in Nevada

In 2013, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed a new legislative bill that grants the state’s advanced practice registered nurses (APRN), including certified nurse-midwives, the freedom to practice independent of physician. As a result of the change, CNMs are no longer required to have a collaborative practice agreement in place with a physician. Additionally, CNMs would earn prescriptive authority after just 200 hours of practice after graduating from a qualifying master’s program in nurse-midwifery. These changes have only added to the growth of nurse-midwifery in the state, giving certified nurse-midwives more opportunities to establish independent woman’s clinics and birthing centers.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of out-of-hospital births within birthing centers is on the rise in Nevada. In fact, 1.47% of all births in Nevada in 2012 took place outside of the hospital settings, a notable increase from the 1.29% figure in 2004. This rise is due in large part to the recent resurgence of midwifery, a time-tested practice that women are embracing in the modern era.

While some nurse midwives in Nevada open their own practices, many are employed by the state’s hospitals and birth centers. Two such hospitals are Mountain View Hospital and Centennial Hills Hospital in Las Vegas. The two hospitals, each a subsidiary of WellHealth Medical Group, share the same team of CNMs, who provide contraception education, gynecologic care, as well as antepartum, intrapartum and postpartum care.

Steps to Become a Certified Nurse-Midwife in Nevada

RNs interested in becoming certified nurse-midwives must becoming nationally certified through the American Midwifery Certification Board and licensed as advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) through the Nevada State Board of Nursing by completing these steps:

Earn a Qualifying Degree in Nurse-Midwifery
Pass the National Nurse-Midwife Certification Examination
Apply for Advanced Practice Licensure through the Nevada State Board of Nursing
Explore Career Options in Nurse-Midwifery and Maintain Credentials

 


 

Step 1. Earn a Qualifying Degree in Nurse-Midwifery

The Nevada State Board of Nursing requires all APRNs licensed as certified nurse-midwives to hold a master’s degree or higher in nurse-midwifery recognized by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME).

Nevada, like many other states, does not have any schools with campus locations that offer master’s degrees in nurse-midwifery. Just like in much of the rest of the country, RNs in the state would pursue their degree through an accredited online program.

Admissions Standards

For bachelor’s prepared RNs, earning a conventional Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a focus in nurse-midwifery or a dual focus in nurse-midwifery and women’s health would satisfy educational requirements for a career in nurse-midwifery.

Associate’s prepared RNs must complete an accredited RN-to-MSN bridge program with a focus in nurse-midwifery to earn both their BSN and MSN.

Nurses eligible for admission to these programs are evaluated on a variety of factors such as their admissions essay, their undergraduate GPA, and their GRE score.

Dual Focus Options and Program Structure

Among nurse midwife programs, those offering a dual specialization option in nurse midwifery and women’s health are becoming increasingly popular. RNs who complete these programs are eligible to pursue board certification as a women’s health nurse practitioner (WHNP-BC) in addition to their certified nurse-midwife (CNM) credential.

Master’s programs in nurse-midwifery and dual focus nurse-midwife/woman’s health nurse practitioner programs are designed to give RNs a comprehensive education though both didactic coursework and clinical experience.

Classroom courses typically consist of 40-60 credits and cover the key areas of nurse-midwifery:

  • Midwifery care during labor
  • Newborn care
  • Midwifery care during pregnancy
  • Pharmacology
  • Nursing research
  • Physiology & pathophysiology
  • Women’s reproductive healthcare
  • Ambulatory care of women
  • Biostatistics for health care providers
  • Family crisis care

Clinical work takes place in nearby birth centers or the maternity divisions of hospitals. Under the guidance of a physician or APRN, RNs are typically required to work between 700-1,000 hours to meet their program’s clinical requirements. Clinical sequences for nurse-midwife programs typically take place in one of these facilities:

  • Banner Churchill Community Hospital in Fallon
  • Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center in Carson City
  • Centennial Hills Hospital in Las Vegas
  • Dignity Health – St. Rose Dominican Hospitals in Henderson
  • MountainView Hospital in Las Vegas
  • Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital in Elko
  • Northern Nevada Medical Center in Sparks
  • Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno
  • Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Reno
  • Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center in Las Vegas
  • Summerlin Hospital Medical Center in Las Vegas
  • Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center in Las Vegas
  • University Medical Center of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas
  • Well Rounded Momma in Las Vegas

Graduate students pursuing their master’s degree in nurse-midwifery online must consult with their school’s program director about placement in a nearby clinical setting.

 


 

Step 2. Pass the National Nurse-Midwife Certification Examination

To ensure candidates are prepared for a career in nurse-midwifery, the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) administers the Certified Midwife Exam, which serves as the final step before Board certification and advanced practice licensure through the Nevada State Board of Nursing.

Upon graduating from a qualifying master’s degree program, RNs must send their completed application to the following address:

AMCB
849 International Drive, Suite 120
Linthicum, MD 21090

The Certified Midwife Exam is a 175-question test that RNs must complete within four hours. The exam is divided into the following sections, which nurses may prepare for by studying the online Candidate Handbook:

  • Antepartum – 19-26 percent
  • Intrapartum – 17-26 percent
  • Postpartum – 15-18 percent
  • Gynecology – 15-18 percent
  • Women’s health and primary care – 8-16 percent
  • Newborn – 7-16 percent

To take the exam, RNs must schedule a testing time with an AMP testing center. Nevada is home to two AMP centers, one in Henderson and the other in Reno.

Graduates of dual-focus nurse-midwife/women’s health nurse practitioner programs may also choose to achieve certification as a Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner (WHNP-BC) by taking the Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) Exam administered by the National Certification Corporation (NCC).

Consisting of 150 multiple-choice questions, the WHNP exam covers topics including:

  • Pharmacology – 5-10 percent
  • Primary Care – 10-15 percent
  • Diagnostic testing and physical assessment – 10-15 percent
  • Obstetrics – 25-30 percent
  • Gynecology – 35-40 percent

The NCC offers a WHNP Candidate Guide as a resource for RNs to prepare for the exam.

 


 

Step 3. Apply for Advanced Practice Licensure through the Nevada State Board of Nursing

With their national nurse-midwife certification in hand, candidates may begin the process of applying for APRN licensure through the Nevada State Board of Nursing.

First, nurses must call 1-888-590-6726 to receive instructions on obtaining and documenting their fingerprint cards. Nurses must pay a $51.25 fee to the Nevada State Board of Nursing to be fingerprinted. Complete fingerprint instructions may be found on the board’s website.

Next, nurses must complete their APRN application form. When completed, the form should be sent along with the following documentation to the Board:

  • Finger print form
  • A $200 fee in the form of a money order, cashier’s check, or personal check, or through a MasterCard, Visa, or Discover Card. The fee should be made payable to “NSBN”.
  • A copy of your national certifications

Additionally, nurses instruct their graduate program to send a copy of the nurse’s official college transcript. The transcript must show that the nurse completed courses in the following areas:

  • Advanced health assessment
  • Advanced pathophysiology
  • Advanced role preparation
  • Concentration of courses in a specific role and population focus
  • Clinical preceptorship

If the transcript does not suffice in demonstrating completion of courses in those topics, a school official must send either a letter verifying the courses have been completed or send a copy of the school course catalog.

All materials should be sent to the following address:

Nevada State Board of Nursing
5011 Meadowood Mall Way, Suite 300
Reno, NV 89502-6547

 


 

Step 4. Explore Career Opportunities in Nurse-Midwifery and Maintain Credentials

Upon receiving their APRN license, certified nurse-midwives may begin exploring career opportunities.

Nevada is home to a number of hospitals and medical centers that employ the services of CNMs. Hospitals remain the top employers of certified nurse-midwives in Nevada:

  • Banner Churchill Community Hospital in Fallon
  • Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center in Carson City
  • Centennial Hills Hospital in Las Vegas
  • Dignity Health – St. Rose Dominican Hospitals in Henderson
  • MountainView Hospital in Las Vegas
  • Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital in Elko
  • Northern Nevada Medical Center in Sparks
  • Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno
  • Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Reno
  • Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center in Las Vegas
  • Summerlin Hospital Medical Center in Las Vegas
  • Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center in Las Vegas
  • University Medical Center of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas
  • Well Rounded Momma in Las Vegas

Maintaining APRN Licensure with the Nevada State Board of Nursing

Nevada’s CNMs must renew their APRN license with the board every two years at the same time as their RN license renewal. APRN license renewal may be completed online on the Nevada State Board of Nursing website. CNMs must complete 15 contact hours in their specialty as well as an additional 30 Continuing Education credits (CEs) to maintain their license. The Board must approve all continuing education. Nurse-midwives should keep documents showing proof of their continuing education for four years in case of a Board audit.

Maintaining CNM Certification through the American Midwife Certification Board

To maintain their certification with the AMCB, CNMs must complete one of two continuing education options every five years. The first option is to pass the AMCB Certification Examination. CNMs who choose this option must pay a one-time $500 fee. Alternatively, CNMs may complete three AMCB Certificate Maintenance Modules and 20 AMCB-approved contact hours of Continuing Education. Those who choose this option will be subject to annual fees.

Maintaining WHNP-BC Certification through the National Certification Corporation

APRNs with the WHNP-BC credential must meet additional continuing education requirements through the National Certification Corporation (NCC). In addition to having to complete an NCC-administered continuing competency assessment, nurses must complete the continuing education requirements as part of their education plan, which is mailed to them directly by the NCC.


Salaries for Certified Nurse-Midwives in Nevada

Twenty-three certified-nurse midwives were licensed to practice in Nevada as of 2013 according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). However, this number is expected to increase dramatically during the ten-year period between 2012 and 2022, with the US Department of Labor projecting a national job growth rate of 31% for certified nurse-midwives during this ten-year period.

By aggregating the starting salaries for CNM jobs advertised in Nevada during the one-year period from November 2014 to November 2015, Indeed.com is able to provide an aggregate average. Their findings revealed that certified nurse-midwives in the state were offered an average starting salary of $64,000, while the average salary offer for those serving as primary care providers that also provide comprehensive obstetric and gynecological care was $95,000 that year.

Shortage of OB/GYN Physicians in Nevada Leads to Increased Demand for CNMs

Nevada had the 7th lowest ratio of physicians to residents in the country in 2010 according to the USA Today “24/7 Wall St.” analysis. Physicians who specialize in obstetrics and gynecology are in especially short supply in Nevada. Increasing the number of certified nurse-midwives licensed to practice in Nevada is widely recognized as the best way to ensure that Nevada’s residents continue to have access to high-quality obstetric and gynecological care in the face of this shortage.

According to a fact sheet on Nevada published by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 11 of the 17 counties in Nevada did not have a single OB/GYN physician in 2014. Counties with the highest ratio of OB/GYN physicians on a population basis included Elko, Washoe, Storey, and Carson City Counties. These counties each had a ratio of three OB/GYNs for every 10,000 women. In contrast, Clark and Churchill Counties only had 2.0-2.4 OB/GYNs per 10,000 women.

Salaries for Certified Nurse-Midwives Working in Las Vegas and Reno

Indeed.com aggregates the salaries of jobs advertised over the course of a year and provides an average salary for that year. The average salary for CNMs in Nevada over the course of the year preceding November 2015 as shown for positions advertised through Renown Health and St. Mary’s Medical Group are shown below:

Las Vegas

  • Certified Nurse-Midwives – $72,000
  • Certified Nurse-Midwives serving as primary care providers -$100,000

Reno

  • Certified Nurse-Midwife – $73,000
  • Certified Nurse-Midwives serving as primary care providers – $101,000

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