To Educate, Not Indoctrinate—A Mandate for Certified Nurse-Midwives


  • Ilene Gelbaum CNM

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    • Ilene Gelbaum, CNM, has been a certified nurse-midwife in a full-scope HMO practice at Kaiser Permanente, Anaheim, California, since 1981. There, she represents nurse-midwifery on the hospital's interdisciplinary Practice Committee and is a consultant on nurse-midwifery practice, privileges, and credenttaling. Ms. Gelbaum graduated from the Mount Sinai Hospital School of Nursing, New York City in 1966, volunteered three years as a public health nurse in the U.S. Peace Corps, and completed the midwifery program at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in 1978. She has since served three years as ACNM Chapter Chair in Los Angeles, eight years on the Board of Directors of the California Consortium for Nurse-Midwifery, Inc., and was recently appointed to the Nurse-Midwifery Advisory Committee of the California Board of Registered Nursing. In 1987, Ms. Gelbaum was the first CNM to receive certification as a mohel(et) from Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles. She was a speaker on “Male Newborn Circumcision—The Nurse-Midwifery Model,” at the 35th Annual Meeting of the ACNM in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Presented is a model of providing parents with honest, unbiased education toward informed participation and consent relative to neonatal circumcision. Historical perspective and current understanding of medical benefits, risk, possible complications, alternatives, and expected after-care is explored. Particulars of how and why parents, who have the legal right and responsibility, decide about circumcision are discussed. Whether that decision is based on interpretation of medical opinion, parenting values, cultural mores, or religious beliefs, certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) must be able to advocate for families who make choices different from their own. For those CNMs incorporating circumcision into their practice, a survey revealed that 85% of California ACNM members support this. The 10-year experience of one midwifery service is detailed.