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Midwives: Flexibility for any position

by Stephanie Tillman, CNM, MS

Student loan grace periods creeping to an end? Monthly bills piled high from school? Ready to start working and willing to be flexible? There are midwifery jobs, and then there are jobs for a midwife. Flexibility is key in this tough economy, but this can also be viewed through a different lens: the more roles midwives hold, the more our work is advertised!

Midwives are incredibly skilled. We work in public health, research, academia, policy, advocacy, and primary care. We were formerly nurses, doulas, leaders of organizations, social media connoisseurs, linguists, and global health workers. Our skills are flexible, diverse, and marketable. In the wild world of seeking employment, it’s all in how we put ourselves out there. Here is a list of networking ideas that could lead to an awesome opportunity!

  • Get more involved in ACNM or MANA: And, if you haven’t already, become a member of both of these groups. There are amazing resources available to members-only, including networking opportunities! ACNM has a page on ways to be more involved, including through volunteer opportunities. When you become a member, you’ll be automatically added to your affiliate’s listserv, which is an easy way to get to know others in your state, hear about openings and opportunities through word-of-mouth, and advertise your skillset! A list of other listservs that may be of interest can be found here.
  • Attend national conferences: ACNM’s is in Nashville this summer, and MANA’s is in Portland this fall. While there, attend affiliate meetings, global health groups, new grad or first-timer workshops, and meet everyone you can. This is where networking in our community is at its best: in-person and in a supportive, positive, like-minded environment. Hope to see you there!
  • Engage social media: Join Facebook groups, like Facebook pages, or follow Twitter feeds of local reproductive health, doula, midwife, and woman-focused organizations in your area. Connecting through social media gives you instant first-hand knowledge of the goings-on in your community.
  • Update your online resume: Create your LinkedIn profile, and read up on ways to succeed through LinkedIn. Once someone reads your page who might be a potential employer, don’t be afraid to reach out first to connect with them.
  • Consult and Lead: Apply to the leadership board for a local non-profit group whose mission you support, or to a national organization seeking consultants who are experienced in reproductive health. That is you: leader and expert!

If you’re willing to be flexible in job prospects, here are some arrangements you may find or could propose to employers:

  • Primary care: If you are dual-degree or had primary care training that affords you comfort in this field, there are likely many more primary care positions advertised than midwife-specific jobs. In my own work, I know many Family Practice physicians who took employment in primary care and negotiated also caring for obstetric patients as part of their contract. This angle could be of benefit for midwives and dual-degrees as well. If you’re a dual degree graduate nurse practitioner, Advance for NPs & PAs could have useful resources for you.
  • Academics: Once you are Masters-trained, you may qualify to teach students in non-Masters programs, including undergraduate and nursing students. If this interests you, check out the local colleges and universities to see how this may extend your work and experience.
  • Part-time: Looking for a job can be full-time work in itself. Taking a midwife, doula, or nursing job part-time would keep your skills sharp and active while allowing for time to look for full-time employment. It also keeps your feet on the ground and in the door in the field, and could open up job prospects as you show off your skills.
  • Remote or at-home work: International organizations, public health or policy groups, and advocacy organizations often advertise remote or at-home opportunities. This may include grant writing, social media campaigns, or project monitoring and evaluation.
  • Research article review: Previous research or publishing experience is often the only requirement for a position on the Editorial Board of a journal.

Keep in mind that any work you do as a trained midwife contributes to the profession and the movement of birth care as a whole. I wrote a post last year called “The midwifery dream team,” pondering the types of midwives I would choose to have as colleagues in my perfect practice. Re-reading this post, it occurs to me that the kind of people I would want on my squad would be experienced in areas outside of midwifery, all-around rockstars, and knowledgeable in diverse ways. If you do not immediately find your perfect midwifery job, take the opportunity to master other parts of your work that contribute to making you an incredible midwife. Make yourself part of someone’s dream team.

What suggestions do you have for networking, finding alternative job opportunities, and taking a midwife job versus a job for a midwife?

Stephanie Tillman is a recently-graduated Nurse-Midwife now practicing full-scope midwifery in the urban United States, at a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) and as a member of the National Health Service Corps (NHSC). With a background in global health and experience in international clinical care, the impact of public health and the broader profession of midwifery are present in all her thoughts and works. Stephanie's blog, Feminist Midwife, discusses issues related to women, health, and care. Find out more at and follow her on Twitter at @feministmidwife.
Posted By Barbra Elenbaas | 4/11/2013 2:55:18 PM



Any opinions expressed in this blog are those of the individual participant(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. ACNM is not responsible for accuracy of any of the information provided by guest bloggers and/or members via the Comments section. We welcome all feedback – including comments, ideas and suggestions. We also welcome civil, friendly debates. However, any and all content that is deemed inflammatory or rude will not be posted.


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