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National certification of midwives approved!

In April, 1993 the board of the Midwives' Alliance of North America (MANA) joined the board of the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) in jointly endorsing the statement on "Midwifery Certification in the United States," which can be read on the following page. This document represents a tremendous step forward in that it:

* recognizes Certified Midwives as well as Certified Nurse-Midwives.

* recognizes the validity of "a variety of educational routes," which means that a midwife will be evaluated by her knowledge and her skills, not by how she acquired them, thus validating the apprenticeship model of learning.

* places the process of certification of direct-entry midwives in the hands of the midwives themselves through the guidelines set down by MANA and the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM).

You Can Participate in the Development of a Certification Process

NARM already has a registry exam in place, which is given twice a year at various locations throughout the country. They have also undertaken the development of a skills exam and the overseeing of the entire certification process. This is intended to be a test of entry-level midwifery skills; certification will not impose details of style or protocols of practice. The fact that it is being developed autonomously by the independent midwifery community will help to insure that essential midwifery is being tested and preserved in North America.

NARM is asking for a broad base of input from direct-entry midwives and others on the core competencies and skills involved in entry level midwifery and the best way to formulate a certification process. To this end, extensive information and survey forms will be published in upcoming issues of The MANA News, The Birth Gazette and Midwifery Today, and a meeting of state representatives is planned for August. You can also send $2 and a SASE with $.58 postage for a copy of the skills proposals to date to Sharon Wells, PO Box 630, Shelter Island, NY 11964.

You can keep up with further news through Special Delivery, but we would encourage you to participate more actively by joining the Midwives' Alliance of North America (contact Abby Kinne, the membership chair, at PO Box 127, Raymond, OH 43067.

What are the Advantages of National Certification?

At this time when health care reform is being considered at the national level, it is important that midwives are united and visible as the most appropriate and cost-effective providers of care for the majority of women in the childbearing year. This statement provides a unified front between the ACNM and MANA to present in the national health care arena. National certification can also fulfill the need for a mechanism where midwives can be named in third-party reimbursement by insurance companies.

National certification will also facilitate reciprocity among states and encourage states to legalize non-nurse midwifery because exams and a mechanism for certification will already be available to them. For midwives practicing in states where it is illegal, the national certification process will provide an avenue of legitimization and validation where nothing else exits. And the mutual recognition and support expressed by the ACNM and MANA on the national level in this joint statement can also help to smooth over differences among groups of midwives on the state or local levels.

National certification can also accelerate the process of training more midwives, since women will no longer have to attend nursing school first in order either to become legally recognized or to earn a reasonable living.

How Did This Joint Statement Evolve?

The statement on Midwifery Certification in the United States was developed by the Interorganizational Work Group (IWG), consisting of midwives from MANA and the ACNM and a group of consumers, which has been meeting for several years under the auspices of the Carnegie Foundation. It grew out reaching the agreement that what a midwife knows and her experience are far more important than how those skills were acquired. The statement was approved at the ACNM board meeting on February 20, 1993 by a vote of 5 to 2 (with the 2 opposing members abstaining) and by consensus at the April 17, 1993 MANA board meeting in Austin,. Texas. One of the IWG members said about this statement "This is a forward-thinking and revolutionary step in support of MANA and North American midwifery on our own terms."
COPYRIGHT 1993 Association of Labor Assistants & Childbirth Educators
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:includes text
Author:Baldwin, Rahima
Publication:Special Delivery
Date:Jun 22, 1993
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