UTHSC College of Nursing Opens Nurse-Midwifery Program

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The University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Nursing is now offering a Doctor of Nursing Practice Nurse-Midwifery (DNP NMW) option – the only such program at a public university in Tennessee.

Dr. Kate Fouquier

The UTHSC College of Nursing has received a four-year pre-accreditation from the American College of Midwifery Education and anticipates admitting its first cohort in August. The College of Nursing will offer the only nurse-midwifery program in close proximity to Arkansas and Mississippi, where no program is offered. The only other option for nurse-midwifery education in Tennessee is Vanderbilt University.

There is a shortage of maternity care providers in the United States. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) workforce analysis of 2017 projects a shortfall of more than 20,000 qualified maternity care providers by the year 2050.

“Research has shown that midwifery-led models of maternity care result in fewer preterm births, decreased fetal and neonatal deaths, and fewer intrapartum interventions, reducing cost and increasing patient satisfaction,” said College of Nursing Dean Wendy Likes, PhD, DNSc, APRN-Bc, FAANP. “We are pleased to bring this program to the Mid-South to improve access and outcomes for women, their babies, and their families.”

The certified nurse-midwife (CNM) is a nurse practitioner who can provide pregnancy and childbirth care, as well as primary care, annual gynecology wellness exams, family planning, fertility, and newborn care. Although it is a common belief that midwifery care is only for home births, most certified nurse-midwives attend births in hospital settings.

Applications for the Doctor of Nursing Practice Nurse-Midwifery option are now open and will close May 15, 2021. The first cohort will begin in August and include a maximum of eight students. The full-time plan of study for the program is three years, and the part-time plan of study is four years.

Coursework and supervised clinical experiences assist students in developing expertise in family-centered primary care across the lifespan. Graduates are eligible to take the national certification examination through the American Midwifery Certification Board for the credential of Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM). Get more detailed information about the UTHSC program.

The nurse-midwifery concentration coordinator Kate Fouquier, CNM, PhD, FACNM, said, “The midwifery model of care is family-centered care that respects the individual’s right to safe and culturally respectful health care. As midwives, we support the normalcy of life processes, particularly pregnancy and birth. We are advocates for our patients and work to empower them to create health and wellness for themselves and their families.”

The College of Nursing will partner with Regional One Health, the only hospital in the greater Memphis area that offers midwifery care, and with CHOICES birth center for clinical education. Students are required to complete a minimum of 1,200 hours in direct, supervised family-centered care that includes managing births in both the hospital and birth center settings.

“The team of certified nurse-midwives at Regional One Health are hopeful that with the addition of the UTHSC Nurse-Midwifery training program, the profession will expand in the Greater Memphis area to allow our full-scope care to be provided to every person who desires it,” said Regional One nurse-midwife Meghan Madea, MSN, CNM, WHNP-BC. “The Mid-South deserves access to CNMs, and this program will supply and help publicize the unique and comprehensive care we provide as Certified Nurse-Midwives.”

The goal of the UTHSC College of Nursing midwifery concentration is to train more midwives who will go back into their communities providing access to high-quality primary and preventive care for individuals and their families, said Dr. Fouquier, who has been a practicing certified nurse-midwife since 1996 and is a Fellow in the American College of Nurse Midwives.

“I have had the privilege of watching some of my patients grow up,” Dr. Fouquier said. “They came for care as adolescents and continued through their pregnancies and births. It doesn’t get any better than that!”