Midwife Monday: ACNM Midwifery Education Webinar Recap, birth stories and practice spotlights (and a bonus free finance course)!

Happy Monday! If this baby boy in a Zumba skirt doesn’t cheer you up, I don’t know what will!

Today’s post is related to a couple midwifery things. First, a recap of ACNM’s (American College of Nurse-Midwives) town hall webinar on Midwifery Education and Student well being during COVID-19. Supporting midwifery students is so important as it is the only way to continue to make more midwives.

Second, if you’re interested in sharing your birth story – now is the time. Many women are considering what options they have for their birth – whether that is a home birth, a birth center birth or a hospital birth. By sharing stories, we provide education and empowerment for other women. Birth stories don’t have to be fancy and very rarely do they look like the Hollywood movies. Check out the births stories on the blog and share your birth story today here!

We’re also looking for practices to share their own story. As women are looking for their options in birth, it’s imperative that midwives are sharing what they do, what their practice is like and why they believe in midwifery! Read more about how to share about your midwifery practice here. Questions for practices include…

  • Where is your practice located (city, state, hospital/birth center, home setting)?
  • How many years has your practice been providing midwifery care, and how has your practice changed over time?
  • How many midwives are currently in your practice?
  • How many births does your practice attend annually?
  • What is the scope of your practice (OB, GYN, birth center, infertility, newborn)?
  • What is something unique about your midwifery practice?
  • Why do you believe midwifery care is important to women?
  • What is your one piece of advice to women seeking midwifery care?
  • What is your favorite old wives’ tale about midwives?
  • What is your hope for midwifery?
  • How can we find out more about you or your practice (social media, website, etc.)?

Or read this midwifery practice spotlight here!

Okay, let’s get to the recap of ACNM’s (American College of Nurse-Midwives) town hall webinar on Midwifery Education and Student well being during COVID-19. Questions are bolded and it was completed mainly in a question/answer format with an opportunity for questions at the end:

  • What is the congressional response to COVID-19?
  • What does the CARE Act do for student relief and student borrowers?
    • The legislation provides protections for students whose education was disrupted by COVID-19
    • Relief is provided through 9/20/2020 for borrowers and that interest will not accrue on loans at this time
  • What else does the CARE Act cover?
    • Act reauthorizes Title VIII’s Nursing Workforce Development Programs
      • This reauthorizes programs for the NEXT FIVE YEARS! This is a big win for midwives and nurse practitioners!
    • Authorizes CNMs to certify home health care for Medicare patients (this is also a HUGE win for midwives and advanced practice nurses everywhere!)
    • Provides $100 billion for hospitals and healthcare providers
    • Provides $1.5 billion to states and communities to help COVID efforts
    • Provides $16 billion to purchase medical supplies and for personal protective equipment for the strategic national stockpile
  • What are current midwifery student concerns?
    • Uncertainty, insecurity
    • Financial implications
    • Loss of community
    • Mental strain – balancing of home life with school work
    • Balancing fears of family members
    • Staying safe, sane, balanced
  • How can faculty help students?
    • Know your community resources (these will differ across cities but research what resources your community is offering!) and what resources faculty can offer to students to tell their patients about!
  • What are ways that faculty are working to help students?
    • Examine if/when students can go back into clinical settings.
    • Faculty are committed to excellence in midwifery education
    • Students are future peers!
  • Q+A portion:
    • What are considerations in changing graduation requirements?
      • There are no numbers that are actually required – these numbers are set as a general competency level for students. Some students may be competent with fewer numbers and some students may require more to demonstrate competency.
      • It is unlikely ACME will waive competency requirements.
      • Recommendation: Look at the state regulatory boards where you plan to practice for guidance – these are available online and are valuable to review.
      • Recommendation: If appropriate, consider taking an incomplete at your point of study.
    • How programs and sites going to cope with the backload of students?
      • We don’t know. It is going to be place by place based. We are trying to balance this question with is it appropriate for students to be in clinical areas where COVID-19 is a risk. It may be reasonable to do what is possible for a small amount of students when possible to continue forward movement.
      • Additionally, we need to avoid overwhelming current clinical sites.
      • Also need to consider that we don’t have an end in sight for the pandemic…hard to plan for future when you can’t see the finish line.
      • Some midwifery programs are considering only doing didactic coursework (no hands on clinical) through the summer to keep teaching moving forward but not putting students into clinical sites.
      • The panel encourages students to seek guidance to go to each individual program director for guidance. The program directors are experts on their programs, students and their sites. Circumstances are different for every student out there.
    • Can you begin clinical practice prior to taking your ACMB certification exam?
      • Regulatory bodies (boards of nursing, board of education) are examining regulations across the country for emergency/temporary changes to allow graduated nurse-midwives to practice before they sit for the certification exam.
      • Recommendation: Check with your regulatory bodies frequently. Check with your ACNM state affiliates as well. If you are a student and your are not yet involved with ACNM – now is the time.
    • Should students look at taking a hiatus from their program?
      • This is very individualized and ever-changing. Things will change and frequent evaluation of the best option for you is recommended.
      • Recommendation: Don’t confine yourself to a box.
      • If you are compelled to help the nursing workforce and work as RN in the pandemic, that is a noble cause.
    • What are other things that students can do at this time?
      • Consider reaching out to home birth midwives in the area. Some home birth midwives may need assistants or be willing to take students.
      • Recommendation: Use this time for professional development.
      • Host virtual meetings with other students – use these coffee/tea chats to bond and support with students in your programs.
    • How to discuss difficult topics with faculty when you feel like you aren’t being heard?
      • Attempt to go to the source of the conflict. State what you are feeling… use “I” statements, not “you” statements. Be willing to express your feelings. Consider moving up the ladder to elevate your concerns. Also consider that someone may disagree with you, but you have a right to be heard.
    • Last thoughts in the webinar….
      • If you are trying to work from home and are distracted by children and home life responsibility, consider going
      • Do not forget to build resiliency during this time. This is a much needed, regular practice as a midwife. Recommendation: Brene Brown just started a podcast! Take a listen. Also, I loved this quote by Cara Busenhart: There is no greater place for uncertainty than in caring for laboring women. We must be resilient.
      • Build community with midwives wherever you can – both in your programs and across the country.
      • Studying for your midwifery boards soon? Consider joining this group of students doing the same thing!
      • Take care of yourself; do something that brings us joy everyday.
These babes bring me joy every day! Although, at the time, it was Disneyland bringing us so much delight.

My thoughts on the webinar

  • Cara Busenhart (director at Kanas State University): After the pandemic, we are going to have a new normal. She also brought up that telehealth is likely to be a major component of future practice – what does that look like for our students and midwideryprograms? Should we teach telehealth in school? As a provider that has been at home for 2 weeks doing telehealth phone calls, this is going to be a new normal. I wasn’t taught to do patient care from home but it is a great flexibility and great convenience for patients!
  • Tonya Nicholson (Frontier Nursing University CNEP’s Program Director) used the best phrase I have heard from someone commenting on midwives and the pandemic. She said “we are pioneers.” What an amazing analogy for midwives at this time. She also commented on telehealth – her example was this: if telehealth is practiced in midwifery school, while the preceptor is right next to the student, proper, safe practice can take place in a safe, educational setting.
  • I really enjoyed that the panel talked about competency in midwifery practice. At the end of training, every midwifery student has to complete long lists of competencies. These competencies are very measurable, i.e, can you manage a low risk birth independently, repair a second degree laceration independently, etc. A pandemic is not an excuse to graduate students any sooner than they are competent. Competency is a public safety concern as well – this is why midwifery programs must be accredited and midwifery students must take a certification exam. Additionally, licenses for nursing and midwifery practice must be obtained. These processes are all in place to establish safe practice for women, infants and their families.
  • In response to student worries about finances, there is not better time than now to get your finances in order and you can with free access to Financial Peace University for only 14 days!!! I cannot recommend Dave Ramsey enough for how to change the financial order of your house. I’ve been a listener of his podcast for 12 years now – he says the same thing over and over and his Baby Steps will not steer you wrong. Regardless of where you are – planning to be a midwife, just starting school, one semester from graduation, just finished school, on the front lines – there is no better time to organize your financial house and make a plan for the future. Don’t let loans and loan interest rule your life. You are smarter than that! Lastly, look more into the MAKE MORE MIDWIVES page. There is no better time than while you are home to look into scholarships, grants and loan repayment options.

These webinars are so informative, but they are a brain drain. Make sure you’re taking care of yourselves at home, work, individually and as a family.

If you’re free Monday night/evening and want to tune into the next webinar…you can check it out or sign up here.


Stay tuned for pregnancy test trivia on Wednesday…


Leave a Reply