If you love the thrill of expecting a baby, then maybe becoming a prenatal nurse is just the thing for you. Also called a midwife, a prenatal nurse cares for mothers-to-be through the course of her pregnancy and also a little while after. The midwife also takes part in the delivery process, assisting in labor and delivery as well as care during the pre-natal and post-partum stages.
Take note that being a prenatal nurse does not mean you are restricted to caring for pregnant women and assisting them throughout the entire process but they are also entitled to be health care practitioners for women, giving both regular and gynecological checkups, and family planning sessions for women.
Also, you can expect to work outside the clinical environment, and this will require one to be more personable when it comes to clients. Salary ranges also vary, which usually range accordingly based on experience, trainings, education and location for the client or employer. Compensation can average about $80,000 to $90,000 for experienced prenatal nurses.
You will need to go a nursing program with any accredited college or university. Collegiate or vocational (if you’ve already graduated with a different degree) degrees can be obtained between two to four years. If you wish to put up your own practice, you will need to get a master’s degree or a doctorate.
There will be several colleges and institutions offering a midwife program. If you will be taking nursing for college or as a vocational course, ask if this is included in your curriculum. If it is not, or if you need to take it separately, do so. You will need this course in passing the board exams for prenatal nurses.
After you have gone through all the prerequisites to taking the board exams, take the program for certification. There are different exams for different countries, and as for the United States, it can be taken through the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB).
Now you can begin searching for job opportunities. Remember that employers look for different things, so be sure to customize your application letters and resume depending on the kind of organization you intend to work with. Because of the nature of prenatal nursing, you have the opportunity to be hired in different environments. You can work at a hospital or an OB-GYN clinic. However, you are not restricted to these types of environments. While hospitals and clinics are good places to continuously learn and practice, you can also look for opportunities with other institutions that might need prenatal nurses, be it in country clubs, universities, church organizations, and even within the government.
Because medicine is such a dynamic field, make sure to keep yourself up to date with the latest technological advancements, as well as new techniques and information regarding your profession. These can either be taken as continuing education courses, either a requirement for renewing your license, or as a requirement by your employer. Whatever the case, keeping updated will help you improve your skills and knowledge in the field, and can be useful in practical situations.