The History and Evolution of the Core Competencies for Basic Midwifery Practice


  • Melissa D. Avery CNM, PhD

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    • Melissa Avery, CNM, PhD, completed the nurse-midwifery program at the University of Kentucky in 1981 and the PhD at the University of Minnesota in 1993. She is currently Associate Professor and Director of the Nurse-Midwifery Program at the University of Minnesota, School of Nursing, and participates in full-scope nurse-midwifery practice.

  • CNMs/CMs and midwives as used herein refer to those midwifery practitioners who are certified by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) or the ACNM Certification Council, Inc.; midwifery refers to the profession as practiced in accordance with the standards promulgated by ACNM.

Melissa D. Avery, CNM, PhD, 5–160 Weaver Densford Hall, 308 Harvard Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455. E-mail:


The Core Competencies in Nurse-Midwifery were first published in 1978 to provide a standard approach to nurse-midwifery education and now serve as the template for curriculum in nurse-midwifery/midwifery education. This article is an expansion of an earlier publication documenting the development of the Core Competencies document and describes its history and use in midwifery education and professional practice. The development and continued revision of this document are a significant part of ACNM and midwifery history in the United States. It defines the competencies essential to basic practice and can be used to define the scope of midwifery practice in both professional and policy arenas.