• Helen Varney Burst C.N.M., M.S.N.

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    • Helen Vamey Burst received her B.S. in Nursing from the University of Kansas and her M.S.N. and Certificate in Nurse-Midwifery from Yale University. She was previously Director of the Nurse-Midwifery Education Programs at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and the Medical University of South Carolina. She is presently Chairperson and Associate Professor of the Maternal-Newborn (Nurse-Midwifery) Program in the School of Nursing at Yale University. Ms. Burst is the author of the first textbook on Nurse-Midwifery to be published in the United States. (Helen Varney, Nurse-Midwifery. Blackwell Scientific Publications, 1980.)

  • This paper was presented by Ms. Burst as the keynote speech given opening night at the 26th Annual Meeting of the American College of Nurse-Midwives, April 27, 1981 in Denver, Colorado. This was the last speech given by Ms. Burst as President of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. The intent of this paper was to set the tone and to provide essential information for the Open Forum On Any Change In Titling Or Education the next day.


Critical questions confront the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM). What is the ACNM's responsibility to the profession of midwifery in the United States? Who should set the standards of midwifery practice? Should the ACNM recognize other educational pathways to midwifery? What effect would the answers to these questions, either positive or negative, have on nurse-midwifery and on the ACNM? A comprehensive data base pertaining to the subject of any change in titling or education is given. Directions and choices are articulated.