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
- 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
- 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
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 www.feministmidwife.com and follow her on Twitter at @feministmidwife.