ISSUE BRIEF

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The purpose of this document is to provide a brief overview of the midwifery profession in the United States, and clarify the position of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) with regard to midwifery credentials and appropriate qualification for midwifery practice. ACNM looks forward to the day when there is one unified profession of midwifery, with unified standards for education and credentialing, working toward common goals. In the meantime, we continue to maintain and promote ACNM standards for academic preparation and clinical practice.

Therefore, ACNM supports the following definition of a professional midwife: A professional midwife in the United States is a person who has graduated from a formal education program in midwifery accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The professional midwife has evidence of meeting established midwifery competencies that accord with a defined scope of practice corresponding to the components and extent of coursework and supervised clinical education completed. In addition, this person has successfully completed a national certification examination in midwifery and is legally authorized to practice midwifery or nurse-midwifery in one of the 50 states, District of Columbia, or U.S. jurisdictions.

ACNM supports laws and regulations that include:

  1. Successful completion of a formal education program in midwifery accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  2. Successful completion of a national certification examination in midwifery.
  3. Successful completion of regular recertification/continuing education.
  4. A scope of autonomous practice that is consistent with the content of the education process and certification exam.
  5. Support for seamless access to and consultation and collaboration with qualified health care professionals and institutions, as needed, within the healthcare system.

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