ACNM Ultrasound Education
In 1996, ACNM published the first clinical bulletin providing guidelines for midwives who expressed an interest in incorporating third trimester ultrasound examinations into their clinical practice. The document was retired in 2009 yet clinical practice has changed in that many midwives are now adding all trimesters of ultrasound examination and gynecologic ultrasound to their clinical practice (ACNM Survey, 2010). ACNM published an updated position statement in 2012 titled “Midwives’ Performance of Ultrasound in Clinical Practice." The statement reviews scope of practice, expansion of practice beyond the core competencies, avenues for practice expansion, reimbursement, licensing and regulation. The statement posits “With appropriate additional training as outlined by ACNM, AIUM, ACOG or AWHONN, midwives may perform ultrasound examinations within the scope of midwifery practice. It is not necessary for midwives to achieve competency in all types of ultrasound; they may tailor their education and training to the specific type of ultrasound examination(s) they wish to perform.”
Expanded guidelines for the performance of all types of obstetric ultrasounds have been published and updates maintained by three professional organizations: The American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nursing (AWHONN).
In August of 2013, a survey was presented to all ACNM members to determine clinician demand. The results of the survey validated a call for action as evidenced in the following:
Midwives who wish to incorporate ultrasound examinations into their scope of clinical practice should have the appropriate education and training, acquire the necessary skills, and demonstrate the specific competencies to master the studies they perform. With the appropriate training as outlined by ACNM, AIUM, ACOG or AWHONN, midwives may perform ultrasound examinations within the scope of midwifery practice. As nurses, midwives, and nurse practitioners take on more responsibility in providing first-line care to women, the need to incorporate sophisticated technology as an adjunct to clinical assessment has become greater (ACNM, 2010, 2011).
The ACNM New Mexico Affiliate has developed a toolkit to guide members on expanding their practice following Standard VIII of the ACNM Standards for the Practice of Midwifery.
Ultrasound Education Task Force
In 2013, the ACNM Board of Directors approved the formation of a joint task force with the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) to explore how best to support midwives’ ability to become credentialed and reimbursed for performing ultrasound. Learn more.