1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131
The mission of the Nurse-Midwifery concentration is to educate graduates to serve the needs of rural and under served populations. To meet this mission, students must expect to be placed outside of the Albuquerque metropolitan area for 2/3 of the clinical rotations.
The Nurse-Midwifery concentration is a sequential 6-term, full-time graduate program of studies consisting of 55 credit hours including more than 1000 hours of clinical experience. The degree to be awarded at completion of the program is the Master of Science in Nursing. Graduates will be eligible for national nurse midwifery certification and licensure in New Mexico and all other U.S. states after successful completion of the American Midwifery Certification Board’s certification exam.
Because graduate education in nursing builds on the baccalaureate curriculum, students are expected to enter the program with prerequisite coursework and clinical nursing competence. Specific areas that will be built upon, but not repeated at the graduate level include: basic anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology; introductory pharmacology; basic growth and development; basic physical and psychosocial assessment; basic statistics; interviewing and development of therapeutic relationships; and community health nursing. Students who seek admission without some of these competencies will need to take personal responsibility for acquiring them. The College of Nursing and the University of New Mexico have coursework, clinical opportunities, and faculty available to assist students, if necessary, prior to entering the program.
At the completion of the program, the graduate will be able to:
The Nurse Midwifery/WHNP program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education ( http://www.midwife.org/Accreditation ) (ACME), Suite 1550, 8403 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910.
What is your graduation rate?
100%. Seven out of seven students graduated 2013.
How do Nurse-Midwifery graduates perform on the national certification examination?
Using the present Nurse-Midwifery curriculum, UNM has a 98% first-time pass rate. National rates are 88-90%.
What is the typical class size?
The average class size of a nurse-midwifery class is 8 - 10 students.
I need to continue to work and be a part-time student in this program. How can I do this?
This is only a full-time program. Admitted students commit to finishing their course and clinical work in two years (six terms.) The program is very rigorous and students are strongly encouraged to NOT work in order to make themselves available for all learning experiences. Since the program requires rural site clinical placements, travel and a flexible student schedule preclude employment. Some applicants tell us "I worked while I did my undergraduate nursing program and got married and had kids. I'm sure this won't be much different. I've been blessed with a good brain, so I'm sure I'll be able to do it with a lot of planning and organization. " However, they state later they really had no idea of the challenges posed by graduate school and the taking-on of an independent practitioner role. Most quit work by Term 2 if not earlier. Successful students rally their personal, academic and financial support systems.
What kind of financial aid is available for Midwifery?
We are one of only a few totally state supported programs in the US. Because we are a state institution, tuition for a UNM nurse-midwifery education is one of the most reasonable in the country.
However, total educational costs should also include housing costs accrued in distant clinical sites. Occasionally, free student housing is provided in a community, but this is the exception rather than the rule.
Students in this program are discouraged from working during the school year because of clinical commitments and the very full time nature of this program. However, students who have clinical commitments in or close to Albuquerque sometimes are Teaching or Research Assistants. Many nurse-midwifery students are also eligible for the Federal nursing loan program, which pays a monthly educational stipend. Other financial aid opportunities include the New Mexico Health Service Corps and the US Public Health Service Corps, both of which have loan for service programs. The American College of Nurse Midwives also awards very competitive scholarships. Employees of local hospitals are also sometimes eligible for awards.
Out of state students can cut costs by:
If I live in a rural New Mexico community, do I have to move to Albuquerque to go to school?
Many students from rural areas of New Mexico have attended this program and kept their main residence in their home town. First term classes are web classes enabling students to live at home. All but one Term 2 classes are on the web as well. The one on the ground class and its lab are given on one day so that the student only spends this time in Albuquerque. During the clinical terms, the classroom teaching is grouped into 1-3 week long blocks interspersed with clinical blocks of 4-5 weeks. The faculty tries to provide a least 1/3 of a rural student’s clinical experience near the student's hometown. We believe that students from rural areas will likely start nurse-midwifery practices in these areas. Our students are pioneers.
Nearly a third of all births in New Mexico are attended by midwives. Why are CNMs so successful in New Mexico?
There are many contributing factors:
There is a very long history of midwifery in New Mexico beginning in the Spanish Colonial times with the use of traditional Hispanic Midwives (parteras). The first U.S. university-affiliated Nurse-Midwifery education program was the Catholic Maternity Institute (CMI) in Santa Fe.
This building at 417 East Palace Avenue in Santa Fe was the home of the Catholic Maternity Institute. Photo by R. Compeau (left).
Under the leadership of the CMI midwives, the American College of Nurse-Midwives was incorporated in New Mexico in 1955. Midwifery has been a part of New Mexican cultural heritage for many generations.
The seal of the American College of Nurse Midwives showing its incorporation in New Mexico in 1955 (right).
Regarding the letter of intent for midwifery, what is the faculty looking for?
Please discuss your “midwifery path.” We are looking for applicants who are people of passion for this profession. Our mission is to educate midwives for work with rural or underserved populations. How do YOU meet our mission?
I understand that you prefer Bachelor’s prepared applicants who have a year of nursing experience before applying, but that you occasionally admit a new graduate RN. Should I apply right out of my RN program or should I get experience first?
Generally, we prefer that inexperienced RN applicants have some experience with birth, women's issues, international health, public health etc. prior to obtaining a nursing degree. Other successful applicants have about been CPMs, doulas, lactation consultants, community organizers, Peace Corps volunteers etc. Applicants with decision-making experience and some work history are preferred as well.
Inexperienced applicants should consider whether they are observational/hands-on learners. Such people often do better with some nursing experience before starting the program. Those who are visual (books) and auditory (classroom lecture) learners sometimes elect to apply without RN experience. Important skills acquisition needed by students before starting N550: Intrapartum Care in Term 5 are:
It is strongly encouraged that any student without these skills take an independent study credit during Term 4 to acquire them.
Some midwifery preceptors cannot precept a student who is inexperienced or who has no labor and delivery experience, and therefore, these students may have fewer clinical sites from which to choose.
New nurse graduates are often experienced test takers, are more familiar with academics (Internet, word processing, research skills) and they usually qualify for larger financial aid than RNs with a larger income the year before starting the program. They may also more easily embrace the low tech/low intervention model and philosophy of nurse-midwifery care than RNs who have only been employed in high-risk tertiary care centers for most of their careers.
Experienced RNs are usually more adept at routines, use of technology and more understanding and tolerant of the hospital birth culture. Their learning curve may not be as steep in relation to new manual skill acquisition.
How does the UNM midwifery education program rank among other US programs?
US News and World Reports has ranked the UNM nurse-midwifery education program among the top 5 in the US since April 2002!