In 1996, the Division of Accreditation (DOA) of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) preaccredited the first direct entry program of midwifery education for candidates who already possess undergraduate degrees in non-nursing disciplines. Inaugurated through the partnership of the State University of New York Health Science Center at Brooklyn and the North Central Bronx Hospital, this 1-year, postbaccalaureate, certificate program of studies graduated two integrated classes of 22 registered nurse (RN) and nine direct entry (DE) students between 1997 and 1998.

This article presents the experience of the first 2 years of this innovative program, focusing on the profiles of the DE students, their achievements, and their experiences entering the workforce. All of the data comparing nurse and non-nurse student progress through the program of studies strongly support the conclusion that, within an ACNM DOA preaccredited/accredited midwifery education program, DE students can achieve standards of academic excellence and clinical competency that are at least equivalent to those demonstrated by their RN peers.