Interested in focusing your nursing career on women’s health?
Do you want to specialize in antepartum, intrapartum, and postpartum health?
Then you should consider becoming a certified nurse midwife or CNM.
Not only do you get to help women during pregnancy and childbirth, but you will also get to deliver other health services such as family planning, menopausal care, and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.
That sure makes for a meaningful career!
But how do you become a nurse midwife?
In this article, we’ll be sharing a simplified yet complete list of how to become a nurse midwife (CNM) in Louisiana.
Since becoming a CNM is an advanced nursing practice, you can expect that there are a lot of requirements to fulfill.
However, we’ve organized everything you need to know into 4 manageable steps.
So, are you ready to start your journey?
The Difference between Licensed Midwives and Certified Nurse Midwives
Before we get into the steps on how to become a CNM in Louisiana, it’s best to clear up the difference between these two types of midwives.
Simply put, a licensed midwife does not require a degree in nursing but must meet other educational and practice requirements.
Certified nurse midwives, on the other hand, should possess an RN degree and take up midwifery studies afterward. They also need to pass the national test for midwifery and get a certification.
So, if you are not yet an RN, you can find out how to become an RN in Louisiana by reading this simple guide.
How to Become a Certified Nurse Midwife in Louisiana in 4 Easy Steps
These are the four steps to becoming a CNM in Louisiana:
- Step #1: Earn a Nurse Midwifery Degree
- Step #2: Pass the National Certification Exam
- Step #3: Apply for APRN Licensure as a Nurse Midwife
- Step #4: Practice as a Certified Nurse Midwife and Maintain Your License
Step #1: Earn a Nurse Midwifery Degree
As mentioned above, CNMs are required to take extra coursework specialized in Nurse Midwifery.
Since you already have your RN license, the next step is to get at least a master’s degree in nurse-midwifery.
Your CNM program should be accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education or ACME.
There are currently two accredited programs in Louisiana, both located in New Orleans. These are:
- Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans
- Loyola University, New Orleans
You could also opt to look for ACME-accredited programs in nearby states or those offered online.
If you want to take up Nurse Midwifery, there are several types of programs you can choose from, depending on your educational background:
- RN-to-MSN programs: These programs are for ADN-RNs who want to proceed to advanced nursing. Think of this as an accelerated program that combines courses found in both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree.
- MSN in Nurse Midwifery: This is the usual next step for RNs with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
- Post-graduate certification programs: These are for those who seek APRN – Nurse midwifery licenses after finishing their masters
Whatever track you choose, what’s important is that your Nurse Midwifery Degree programs cover the following courses:
- Advanced health assessment and clinical reasoning
- Advanced pharmacotherapeutics
- Advanced practice nursing in primary care of the adult
- Antepartum care for nurse-midwifery
- Intrapartum/postpartum care for nurse-midwifery
- Pathophysiology concepts
- Women’s health for nurse-midwifery
Aside from the educational coursework, there is also a clinical component you need to fulfill. You would need at least 1,000 hours of clinical training and hands-on learning.
These are some of the institutions that partner with CNM programs:
- Center for Women’s Healthcare, Baton Rouge
- Lake Charles Memorial Hospital for Women, Lake Charles
- Women’s Hospital, Baton Rouge
- Women & Children’s Hospital, Lafayette
Step #2: Pass the National Certification Exam
Once you’ve graduated from your program, you need to pass the national certification examination for nurse-midwives.
This exam is administered by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB).
Here is a comprehensive handbook about the NCE from the AMCB.
This handbook will help you apply for the exam and know what to expect.
Before you take the exam, make sure that you submit a CNM exam application, proof of your current registered nursing license in Louisiana, and proof of finishing a nurse-midwifery program.
The CNM exam consists of 175 multiple-choice questions.
These questions cover topics on primary and gynecological care, antepartum, intrapartum, and postpartum stages of pregnancy. There are also questions regarding professional issues encountered in the modern workforce.
Each examinee is given 4 hours to finish the exam. They are also allowed to go back to their answers, review, and change them.
In Louisiana, the testing centers are located in 3 areas – Baton Rouge, Metairie, and Shreveport.
Once you pass the exam, you will be given your national certification as a nurse midwife.
Step #3: Apply for APRN Licensure
Now that you’re done with the most mentally draining part, it’s time to proceed with the application for your Louisiana license.
You need to process your licensure application with the Louisiana State Board of Nursing.
There are a few steps in applying for your APRN license in Nurse Midwifery in this state:
- Step #1: Complete and sign the APRN Licensure application form.
- Step #2: Together with the filled-in form, submit other important documents such as
- valid government-issued photo identification
- your current and unrestricted RN license
- verification of national certification
- official transcripts (to be sent directly by your program provider to the Louisiana State Board of Nursing).
- Step #3: Include $139.25 to cover the $100 application fee and the criminal background check fee worth $39.25.
- Step #4: Complete the Verification of Advanced Practice Education (Form AP2) included in the application.
- Step #5: Complete the Criminal Background Check form (Form CB1) which asks for your Criminal History Record.
- Step #6: Include an original, signed, notarized Affidavit of Verification sent directly to the LSBN office.
- Step #7: Once all is complete and checked, mail over your application to 17373 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70180, Louisiana State Board of Nursing.
Here is the LSBN’s complete checklist with instructions and forms for the application process.
Step #4: Practice as a Certified Nurse Midwife and Maintain Your License
You finally have your CNM License in Louisiana!
Now it’s time to apply for jobs and reap the fruits of your hard work.
In Louisiana, many CNMs are found in women’s health centers, healthcare networks, and hospitals. And since the state is not seeing a slowdown in demand, we’re positive that you can find a job in no time!
Curious about the salary?
You can expect an annual salary ranging from $108,000 to $159,000.
Of course, the more experienced CNMs get the higher salaries and it’s something to look forward to as your career progresses.
And never forget to renew your license!
You need to keep your national certification from the AMCB active to be able to renew your Louisiana APRN license.
There are 2 ways to renew your certification, as required by the American Midwifery Certification Board.
You can either:
- Complete at least 3 AMCB Certificate Modules every five years, plus at least 20 contact hours under CE units, and pay the annual fees, or
- Retake the CNM examination and pay $500 for the exam fee instead of annual fees
APRNs with prescriptive and controlled substance authority also have some additional CE requirements. You can read more about the CE requirements here.
There you have it – the 4 simple steps on how to become a CNM in Louisiana.
The longest steps involve completing the required education, but after that, everything is fast-paced!
You just need to take the exam and complete all the application forms required of you.
Whenever you get confused about what the exact requirements are, you can come back to this guide.
Follow these steps and you can get that CNM license in no time!