An Overview of the Midwifery Program

Nizhoni Institute of Midwifery prepares midwifery students to provide excellent care to healthy pregnant women and their newborns, including the ready identification of complications requiring consultation or referral.

Our program provides a means for students to obtain formal midwifery education while preserving the advantages of the midwifery preceptorship model.  By combining independent and group study, online discussion, and classroom training with supervised clinical experience, midwifery students develop the necessary knowledge and skills essential for safe, entry-level midwifery practice.  The format allows the student to integrate midwifery theory with practice and develop the analytical skills and critical thinking pathways that provide the foundation for clinical problem-solving.

The program meets course objectives through guided study, discussion, clinical skills practice, multi-media materials, computer-based education, and clinical preceptorship.  Learning activities are evidence-based and oriented toward the synthesis of didactic information with midwifery practice.

The didactic portion of the program is three years in length and consists of 888 hours of didactic study.  Students may be allowed up to six years to complete the program in order to complete all required clinical competencies or to remediate deficiencies.  Students who do not complete the program within six years of the original date of enrollment are automatically withdrawn from the program.  If they desire readmission it will be necessary to reapply and retake the entire program; these students are not eligible for advanced placement.

Clinical skills acquisition, known as preceptorship, occurs with one or more approved preceptors; students are encouraged to obtain clinical experience with two preceptors whenever possible.  Preceptorship usually begins after approximately twelve months in the didactic program and may take place in the student’s community or at an approved clinical site.  Clinical experience is comprised of 2,000 hours of supervised practice with credentialed midwife mentors until all clinical competencies have been satisfactorily completed in accordance with the requirements of Nizhoni Institute of Midwifery and the North American Registry of Midwives.  All classroom and clinical requirements must be completed in order to graduate from the Nizhoni Institute of Midwifery.

Students obtain certification as professional midwives through the North American Registry of Midwives as a condition of graduation.  The Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) credential is widely recognized and is viewed increasingly as an entry-level professional standard for midwives providing care in out-of-hospital settings.

Graduates of Nizhoni Institute of Midwifery are prepared to:

  1. Practice as professional midwives, meeting nationally accepted standards of midwifery practice, to promote the health and well-being of childbearing families and women throughout the life cycle.
  2. Provide safe, competent midwifery care to childbearing women and their newborns through appropriate utilization of the midwifery model of practice in primary care, collaboration, and timely and appropriate consultation and referral.
  3. Analyze, synthesize, and apply concepts from midwifery, nursing, obstetrics and complementary medicine within the framework of the midwifery model of care in order to improve maternal, perinatal and community health outcomes.  Midwives should be able to evaluate the adequacy of underlying knowledge from midwifery science, related fields and professional foundations as it informs advanced midwifery practice.

Graduates are prepared for the scope of practice outlined by the Midwives’ Alliance of North America (MANA) Core Competencies, the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) certification requirements for Certified Professional Midwives, and the joint mission statement of the Midwives Alliance of North America and the American College of Nurse-Midwives:

“The entry level midwife is a primary health care professional who independently provides care during pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period for women and newborns within their communities.  Services provided by the midwife include education and health promotion.  With additional education and experience, the midwife may provide well-woman gynecological care, including family planning services.  When the care required extends beyond the midwife’s abilities, the midwife has a mechanism for consultation, referral and continued involvement.”