THE CONTEXT OF NURSE-MIDWIFERY IN THE 1980s: Our Relationships with Medicine, Nursing, Lay-Midwives, Consumers and Health Care Economist


  • Judith P. Rooks C.N.M., M.S.N., M.P.H.

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    • Judith Rooks is the current President of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. She is also a part-time consultant to private and government institutions and organizations involved in maternal and child health and/or family planning programs or research.

  • This paper was adapted from the President's Address: 28th Annual Meeting of ACNM, May 1983, Los Angeles, CA.

American College of Nurse-Midwives, 1522 K Street, N.W., Suite 1120, Washington, D.C. 20005


Nurse-midwifery's interrelationships with several significant groups are analyzed and several conclusions are reached. Collegiality, cooperation, communication, and complementarity—not competition—should be the characteristics of nurse-midwives' relationships with physicians. Nurse-midwifery's association with nursing brings the profession both benefits and risks that merit close scrutiny. The ACNM should establish good interorganizational relationships with other groups of midwives, but should not merge with them. While sensitivity and responsiveness to consumers' needs, demands, and preferences have become hallmarks of nurse-midwifery care, nurse-midwives need to examine the continuum between authoritarian and permissive care, especially its implications for out-of-hospital birth situations. Finally, nurse-midwives must collect the information needed to convince the country's health-care financial planners that CNMs can do a better job for less expense.