Midwives have provided women with support and assistance during childbirth for centuries. Today’s nurse-midwives carry on the tradition of high-touch, low-tech personal care, while their advanced practice nursing expertise allows them to effortlessly bridge traditional birthing practices and modern medicine.
Certified nurse-midwives in South Dakota are part of a growing movement toward nurse-midwifery care, not just during the birthing process but also for care throughout the lifespan. Nurse-midwives, as advanced practice registered nurses, provide well woman care to women from adolescence well beyond menopause.
According to the American College of Nurse-Midwives, there were 28 nurse-midwives practicing in South Dakota as of 2015. They attended about 825 births in 2013 alone, or nearly 9 percent of all vaginal births. The South Dakota Board of Nursing identifies the scope of practice for nurse-midwives to include:
- Providing advanced nursing assessment, intervention, and case management
- Providing advanced health promotion and maintenance education
- Providing counseling to clients, families, and other members of the healthcare team
- Consulting with or referring clients to other healthcare providers
Steps to Becoming a Nurse-Midwife in South Dakota
RNs in South Dakota interested in becoming certified nurse-midwives must become licensed as Advanced Practice Nurses (APN) through the South Dakota Board of Nursing by following the steps detailed in this guide:
Step 1. Earn a Qualifying Graduate Degree in Nurse-Midwifery
The first step to becoming a nurse-midwife in South Dakota involves completing a master’s degree or higher in nurse-midwifery that has been accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME), the sole accrediting agency for nurse-midwifery degree programs in the U.S.
Master’s Degrees in Nurse-Midwifery and Nurse-Midwifery/Women’s Health
For RNs who possess a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), conventional master’s degrees in nurse-midwifery are appropriate for earning APN licensure in South Dakota and gaining eligibility for the CNM credential.
However, a number of ACME-accredited degree programs exist to accommodate RNs with different educational backgrounds:
- RN-to-MSN Degrees: Designed specifically for RNs with associate degrees, RN-to-MSN degree programs encompass the components of both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in nursing, usually in an accelerated format.
- Post-Graduate Certificates: RNs that already possess a master’s degree when seeking initial APN licensure often complete post-graduate certificates in nurse-midwifery, as do currently licensed APNs seeking to add another specialty to their APN license.
Today’s nurse-midwifery programs feature formats designed to appeal to students with different needs and professional goals. For example:
- Dual-specialization master’s degrees in nurse-midwifery/women’s health allow students to broaden their scope of practice and achieve national certification and APN licensure as both a Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP).
- Part-time programs in nurse-midwifery often appeal to working RNs. While full-time master’s degree programs in nurse-midwifery take about two years to complete, part-time programs take about three years to complete.
- Many of today’s nurse-midwifery master’s degrees have partially or fully online didactic coursework. In many parts of the country, online programs are particularly valuable because of the lack of nurse-midwife programs in the U.S. For example, there are currently no nurse-midwife programs in South Dakota.
A master’s degree in nurse-midwifery consists of two components: a didactic component and a clinical component. The core curriculum of these programs includes courses in:
- Advanced health assessment
- Nurse-midwifery management of the antepartum, intrapartum, and postpartum woman
- Well woman health care and the newborn
- Nurse-midwifery management of complications
- Health promotion and disease prevention
- Assessment and management of common primary care signs and symptoms
- Clinical pharmacology
- Issues in nurse-midwifery professional practice
The clinical residency of a nurse-midwife master’s degree program, which often consists of up to 1,000 hours, includes rotations in antepartum, intrapartum, postpartum, newborn, well woman’s care, and primary care. Clinical sites range from private midwifery practices to large hospital systems. In South Dakota, students may complete part of their clinical residency at the following sites:
- Avera Medical Group Women’s Midlife Care Hospital, Sioux Falls
- Sanford Clinic Women’s Health, Sioux Falls
- Women’s Wellness Center, Huron
- Regional Health, Spearfish Regional medical Clinic, Rapid City
Many of today’s online master’s degree programs in nurse-midwifery partner with clinical sites throughout the U.S. allowing students to complete the clinical component of their program at a location close to home.
In addition to requiring candidates to possess a valid RN license and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), institutions offering master’s degrees in nurse-midwifery often require candidates to possess:
- Minimum undergraduate GPA
- Minimum GRE scores
- Admissions essays
- Letters of recommendation
- Nursing experience
Step 2. Take and Pass the National Certification Examinations
After graduating from a master’s degree program in nurse-midwifery, RNs in South Dakota seeking APN licensure as a nurse-midwife must take and pass the Nurse-Midwife (CNM) examination through the American Midwifery Certification Board.
Graduates of master’s degrees in nurse-midwifery/women’s health may also choose to take the Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) examination offered through the National Certification Corporation if they wish to hold dual APN specialization.
Candidates must apply to take the examinations and receive approval before they can schedule to take the examinations through an Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP) testing center. In South Dakota, candidates may take the exams at the AMP centers in Rapid City or Sioux Falls.
Step 3. Apply for APN Licensure through the South Dakota Board of Nursing
To become an APN nurse-midwife in South Dakota, candidates must possess a current and unencumbered RN license in South Dakota (or an RN license from a Nurse Licensure Compact state) and complete the CNM Initial License Application. In addition to a completed and signed application, applicants must submit the following to the Board:
- Licensure fee of $100
- Completed criminal background check packet (Applicants must contact the South Dakota Board of Nursing at 605-362-2760 to request the packet.)
- Transcripts from the university where the nurse-midwife degree was conferred (Candidates must complete the Transcript Request Form 2)
- Evidence of current CNM certification
- Collaborative Practice Agreement
Nurse-midwives attending out-of-hospital births must sign a Waiver of the Collaborative Agreement to Attend Out of Hospital Births.
Note: Candidates also seeking APN recognition as a women’s health nurse practitioner must complete a separate CNP Application.
Controlled Substance Privileges
To prescribe, dispense, and administer controlled substances, nurse-midwives in South Dakota must contact the South Dakota Department of Health for an application for Controlled Substances Registration. CNMs must possess a collaborative agreement with a physician that authorizes their prescriptive authority, including controlled substances.
Step 4. Explore Career Options as a Nurse-Midwife in South Dakota and Keep Credentials Current
Nurse-midwives in South Dakota must always ensure they maintain their RN license, APN license, and national certification(s).
APN Renewal Requirements – South Dakota Board of Nursing
CNMs in South Dakota must complete the APN renewal process online. All CNM licenses renew biennially at the same time as RN licenses. In addition to a renewal fee of $70 (or $160 for the renewal of both RN and APN licenses), nurse-midwives must provide evidence of their active CNM certification.
CNM Renewal Requirements – American Midwifery Certification Board
The American Midwifery Certification Board’s Certification Maintenance Program 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 Renewal Requirements – 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 South Dakota
Just a few of the settings throughout South Dakota where nurse-midwives may find professional opportunities include:
- Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center, Sioux Falls
- Sanford USD Medical Center, Sioux Falls
- Dakota Women’s Clinic, Mitchell
Job posts surveyed in December 2015 reveal that South Dakota is home to a variety of exciting job opportunities for nurse-midwives (shown for illustrative purposes only):
- Certified Nurse-Midwife: Indian Health Service, Pine Ridge
- Certified Nurse Midwife, Medical Doctor Associates, Locum
- Nurse-Midwife, Indian Health Service, Eagle Butte
- Active Nurse Midwife, U.S. Army Healthcare Team, Sioux Falls
Salaries for Certified Nurse-Midwives in South Dakota
In 2013, a study published by the American College of Nurse-Midwives revealed that salaries for certified nurse-midwives in South Dakota averaged $88,130 per year.
In 2012, there were a total of 12,104 births in South Dakota, according to statistics published by the American College of Nurse-Midwives. Certified nurse-midwives attended approximately 6.5% of those births.
A Growing Interest in Nurse-Midwifery in South Dakota Leads to Strong Job Growth for CNMs
According to a National Vital Statistics Report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2010, about 0.29% of all births in South Dakota between 2005 and 2006 were out-of-hospital births, the vast majority of which were home births. What’s particularly interesting is the upward trend toward home birthing and midwifery services. In fact, according to the advocacy group South Dakota Birth Matters, between 2004 and 2009 the number of out-of-hospital births in South Dakota increased by an astounding 92%.
Additionally, one study released by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) in 2012, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), revealed that the number of home births nationally had increased by 29% between 2004 and 2009.
These trends, both nationally and locally, reveal an upward trend in CNM-attended births and a renewed prevalence of nurse-midwives in women’s healthcare. These factors help point to a positive career outlook for certified nurse-midwives in South Dakota.
In 2012, the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, published occupational data projecting that the demand for nurse-midwives nationwide would increase by 31% in the 10-year period between 2012 and 2022.
Salary Offers from Top CNM Employers in South Dakota
While the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation does not have specific salary data available for the various regions throughout the state in which nurse-midwives work, the salary offerings by various facilities throughout South Dakota can serve as a reference for more clearly understand how nurse-midwives in South Dakota are paid.
As recently as December of 2015, Pine Ridge Midwifery in Pine Ridge, South Dakota began seeking to expand its staff of certified nurse-midwives. The Pine Ridge Service Unit is part of the Indian Health Service and encompasses Pine Ridge Hospital, Kyle Health Center, and Wanblee Health Center.
The starting salary this organization offered in a job ad for certified nurse-midwives as of December of 2015 ranged between $68,398 and $98,386 per year based on experience and qualifications.
In addition, the Indian Health Service at Eagle Butte, South Dakota is also actively searching for certified nurse-midwives. The salary offered at the Eagle Butte facility ranged from $67,720 to $97,399 annually based on experience and qualifications during the same period.