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The DNP and Entry Into Midwifery Practice: An Analysis


  • Melissa D. Avery CNM, PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Melissa Avery, CNM, PhD, FACNM, is currently Associate Professor and Director of the Nurse-Midwifery Program at the University of Minnesota, School of Nursing, Chair, Child and Family Health Co-operative, and participates in full-scope nurse-midwifery practice.
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  • Carol Howe CNM, DNSc

    1. Carol Howe, CNM, DNSc, FACNM, is currently Professor and Director of the Nurse-Midwifery program and interim Director of Advanced Practice Nursing Programs at the Oregon Health & Science University.
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Melissa Avery, CNM, PhD, FACNM, University of Minnesota, 5–160 Weaver Densford Hall, 308 Harvard St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455. E-mail:


The American Association of Colleges of Nursing recently published a policy statement calling for the requirement of the Doctor of Nursing Practice for entry into practice as an Advanced Practice Nurse by the year 2015. Certified nurse-midwives, defined as those educated in both nursing and midwifery, are commonly included in the definition of Advanced Practice Nurses, along with nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, and clinical nurse specialists. This paper explores issues related to the practice doctorate as an entry requirement for midwifery practice in the United States. The results of a brief survey of midwifery students indicate mixed interest in a clinical doctorate. At the present time, evidence points to the fact that current education requirements produce safe, knowledgeable, competent midwives. Because data are lacking regarding the potential impact of the proposed Doctor of Nursing Practice on the cost of education to both the institution and the student, on the applicant pool, and on the health care system, the Directors of Midwifery Education endorse a statement affirming support for multiple routes of midwifery education based on the ACNM Core Competencies, and does not endorse a mandatory requirement for the clinical doctorate for entry into practice at this time.