Nurse v/s Midwife: Differences In Job Functions & Qualifications

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Many people make the mistake of thinking that the job functions of a nurse and that of a midwife are interchangeable but this is not right. Both of these are distinctly different as you will see in this article. 

The Work Settings Are Different

Nurses work in hospitals and medical facilities and they also work at GP surgeries, residences, clinics, nursing homes, voluntary organizations and occupational health services, hospices as well as in the pharmaceutical industry. Other job avenues for nurses include leisure cruise ships and the military. It is also possible for nurses to develop career pathways in research, clinical, management and education roles. 

Midwives are generally the key health professionals who support, guide and care for the mothers, babies and families through the pregnancy months, at the time of birth and in the postnatal period. Many midwives handle their own case-load of women and also work in the community. Others could be based at a hospital. There are numerous opportunities to specialize in women’s health, public health and to run different specialist services like teenage pregnancy clinics.

Students spending time in obstetrics and gynaecology at Morogoro Hospital The Qualifications Are Different Too

Nurse education

Nurse education is acquired at universities. Those who are interested in working in the nursing field can become registered nurses or licensed practical nurses. The latter are also referred to as licensed vocational nurses. RNs & LPNs have to go through and successfully complete a formal-education program and then obtain licensure.

Educational requirements depend on the specialization. Becoming an LVN or LPN requires minimal formal education and a 1 year training program, while those who are interested in advanced practice have to complete a master’s degree program. Half the program is devoted to different kinds of supervised placements in community settings and local hospitals. 

Nursing students can specialize in fields such as children’s, adult, learning disability or mental health nursing. All these nursing programs are offered at the degree level and it is possible to opt for a diploma or a degree program. This necessitates a high level of clinical decision-making skills and technical competence. The different nursing areas are:

  • Adult nursing- There are numerous opportunities for those who qualify in adult nursing. You can work in the community, hospitals, people’s homes, health centers or nursing homes. 
  • Children’s nursing- Those who are qualified in the area of children’s nursing will work with 0 -18 year olds in different kinds of settings, from specialist baby-care units to different teenage services. Children need very different treatment from what adults need as they react very differently to illness. 
  • Learning disability nursing- Approximately 2-3% of the population is learning disabled. Nurses who qualify for this area of nursing help people who suffer from learning disabilities to live fulfilling and independent lives.
  • Mental health nursing- Mental health nurses generally work with psychiatrists, GPs, social workers and others from the field to co-ordinate care of people who suffer from mental illness.

Midwifery Education

Any individual who wishes to be a midwife has to complete a graduate degree. All the midwifery education programs are accredited by The Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education. They provide the required education for graduates to become eligible to take this examination that is conducted by the American Midwifery Certification Board. They can then become Certified Nurse-Midwives.

In addition to this, 2 of these education programs also provide the required education for graduates to become eligible to take the examination that is conducted by the AMCB and can go onto becoming Certified Midwives. During the degree program in midwifery, students are able to choose from theoretical & practical skills that are required for delivering babies, caring for pregnant women and educating and supporting parents. 

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