Nurses and midwives are a crucial and essential part of the healthcare team. They work with a variety of people, of all ages and backgrounds. They will also be called on for help and expected to appear in many health settings such as a patient’s home but also during an accident or emergency. To be a midwife, though, you will need to obtain specific certificates but also have certain characteristics and personality traits. After all, midwifery is not an easy job. It can be taxing and exhausting, but it can also be very rewarding and invigorating.
If midwifery seems like a career path that interests you and you are interested in becoming one, the following guide is here to offer you the required qualifications needed as well as the characteristics that are generally associated with successful midwives. Read on for advice on how you can become a midwife and make a difference.
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What Do Midwives Do?
Midwives provide healthcare to women during pregnancy and birth, as well as postpartum. They can also care for newborn babies during the first month of their life and support the mother. The care they provide includes primary care but also gynecological care. They can also be expected to provide care, advice, and treatment to male partners who have contracted a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
Trained midwives are expected to handle and minimize complications that can arise during labor but also after childbirth. They will need to be able to handle large amounts of stress as they could be the only care provider around during childbirth and delivering a baby outside of a healthcare facility, for example. As a midwife, you will be trained in neonatal resuscitation; you may also wish to specialize in certain areas so that you can, for example, assist doctors and physicians during emergencies that could require you to perform and caesarean.
As a midwife, you have the option to work in a variety of environments and for different employers. However, you will typically work within a hospital setting, a clinic, or private practice. You may also be expected to deliver babies at a person’s private house or at a free-standing birth center (it all depends on how you wish to work).
What Qualifications Will I Need to Become a Midwife?
Becoming a certified midwife can be overwhelming; however, it is a rewarding career path that many people are thankful for taking. The usual path people take when becoming a trained midwife is:
- Earning a bachelor of science in nursing degree (BSN). You will want to enroll in a bachelor’s program and ensure that you are obtaining a degree in nursing. Typically, a bachelor’s degree will take around four years to complete if you are in full-time education. There is the option to take an accelerated program so that you can graduate more quickly, however.
- Get your license so that you can become a registered nurse. You will need to pass the NCLEX-RN exam. However, you will also need to apply for an RN license that is relevant to your state as each state has different requirements. Depending on your state, you may need to do additional examinations. Always check with your state’s licensing board.
- Specialize so that you gain midwifery experience. You may wish to work as an RN for a couple of years before you specialize, but once you have gained enough RN Experience, you may wish to obtain additional skills and enroll at a school for midwifery such as the one provided by Baylor University. By doing this, you will learn how to become a nurse-midwife and learn how to pursue a career in midwifery.
What are the characteristics and personality Needed?
To become a successful midwife, you may need to possess the following characteristics and personality as they will lend themselves to helping you succeed:
You will need to communicate well and learn how to articulate yourself well during stressful and overwhelming times. Learning how to communicate to the patient as well as your team so that everyone is on the same page and understands what to do is essential, especially if there is an emergency situation or complications.
A midwife will need to assess the current situation and make decisions on how the team should proceed so that the baby and mother are as healthy as can be by the end of the delivery. Complications can arise at any given time, so having the tools to decipher the best course of action can have life-saving consequences. You may also have to make a judgement call with little time to deliberate or second-guess yourself. There are many ways you can improve your critical thinking skills.
Your patient may not be honest when it comes to explaining any discomfort, so it is essential that you have a level of intuition and learn to listen to it so that you can spot any small changes in their vital signs or health status. This level of attention to detail can also prove useful to ensure that labor and the delivery of the baby is as smooth and successful as possible. A dip in blood pressure or a change in heart rate could have devastating consequences to the patient during labor, so spotting them early on and using your intuitive nature to rectify it can be a useful characteristic.
You are providing a very important level of care to a person, helping them bring life into the world. This can be a terrifying experience for many patients, especially those who are having their first baby. Therefore, you will need to be reliable so that they can instill trust in you. This means being there when they need you (within reason, of course) and ensuring that you are arriving to appointments on time.
Being a good midwife can be overwhelming of characteristics and personality. You have to experience high-stress cases which require problem-solving and critical thinking to ensure that both parent and baby is safe and well. However, it is also a rewarding career choice for those who love to care for people and give back.