The History of the American College of Nurse-Midwives
Adapted fromVarney's Midwifery, 3rd ed.
Reprinted with permission from Jones and Bartlett Publishers
The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) is the professional organization for certified nurse-midwives and certified midwives. Incorporated in 1955, it was founded as the outgrowth of a series of circumstances that rendered its creation necessary.
During the mid-1940s the National Organization of Public Health Nurses (NOPHN) established a section for nurse-midwives. In 1949 the nurse-midwifery section of this organization published the first national descriptive data gathered about nurse midwives. A few years later, when there was a general reorganization of the national nursing organizations, the NOPHN was absorbed into the American Nurse's Association (ANA) and the National League for Nursing (NLN), and there was no provision within these organizations for a recognizable entity of nurse-midwives. Instead, the nurse-midwives were assigned to the Maternal and Child Health--National League for Nursing Interdivisional Council, which encompassed the areas of obstetrics, pediatrics, orthopedics, crippled children, and school nursing. The membership and concerns of this council were simply too broad to serve as a forum or voice for nurse-midwifery. Ironically, even though nurse-midwives were in positions of leadership in maternal-child nursing educational, professional, and federal organizations pertaining to health care, they were usually not thought of as being nurse-midwives.