Read as Angel Belfiore Miller talks about her career as a Nurse Midwife. You can find her at www.midwiferycareassociates.com and on her Twitter feed @NurseMidwife or in the sidebar of this interview. Her blog is at www.womanplace.com, click on “blog.”
What do you do for a living?
I am a certified nurse midwife and Service Director of a private practice.
How would you describe what you do?
I am a healthcare professional who provides obstetrics and gynecology to women during their lifetime, from puberty to post menopause.
What does your work entail?
I see patients in the office for their prenatal care, gyn care, well woman visits and deliver babies in the hospital. I do everything an OB/GYN MD does ACCEPT surgery; I write prescriptions for my patients, do consultations and referrals; I also have a blog for women’s health and twitter account for the same, sharing information worldwide.
What’s a typical work week like?
I either have 3 office days and a 24 hour call to cover labor and delivery to deliver our patients, or 2 office days and (2) 24 hour calls to cover labor and delivery and rotate weekends with the other midwives. In between all of this, I manage the practice.
How did you get started?
I started as a registered nurse and loved taking care of women on labor and delivery and their babies.
What do you like about what you do?
Being part of a family’s most joyous time, teaching women what their bodies are made to do, one woman at a time. Education is a big part of my occupation, answering questions, debunking myths, encouraging participation in their own health care.
What do you dislike?
Women not given options and choices in their health care and being lied to; long hours up without sleep when on call and away from family.
How do you make money/or how are you compensated?
Presently, I make $99,000 plus bonuses. I am an employee under a physician practice.
How much money do nurse midwifes make?
Medians salary in the USA is $91,000.
How much money did/do you make starting out as a nurse midwife?
15 years ago I started out at $58,000. Presently, the starting salary is ~ $65-70K.
What education, schooling, or skills are needed to become a Nurse Midwife?
Location varies, but overall, a bachelors and masters degree in nursing, certification in nurse midwifery; some states require a doctorate in nursing
What is most challenging about what you do?
Dealing with misconceptions on what a certified nurse midwife is and does and the bias from physicians; the long hours and time away from your family.
What is most rewarding?
Helping a mom birth her baby and show her what her body is made to do and that she can do it; being part of a family’s most joyous experience.
What advice would you offer someone considering this career?
If an individual is looking to becoming a nurse midwife, obtaining RN experience in labor and delivery is key. IF the individual is not an RN yet, working in a job related to women’s health, or pregnancy, as a doula (certification), etc is very helpful.
Also you need alot of patience, great listening skills, and did I say, great listening skills?
How much time off do you get/take?
What is a common misconception people have about what you do?
That we deliver babies only at home, wear long hippy skirts, do not use any pain medication or technology.
What are your goals/dreams for the future?
Continue to give women their options in their healthcare, and have them trust their bodies and what they were made to do, one woman at a tme
What else would you like people to know about your job/career?
It is very satisfying and fulfilling but also very demanding.