The DNP and Entry Into Midwifery Practice: An Analysis

Melissa D. Avery, Carol Howe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-22
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Midwifery and Women's Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for academia, for research, and for student support is dwindling in all arenas. Midwifery education is no exception. Publicly-funded education institutions are particularly vulnerable in periods of poor economy when there is typically a lack of taxpayer support. Many midwifery programs have received start-up funding from the Division of Nursing (Department of Health and Human Resources, Health Resources and Services Administration) and a number of established programs continue to benefit from the Division’s ongoing support. Should the DNP become the standard for advanced practice nursing education, it seems likely that the proportion allocated for doctoral, as opposed to master’s education, would increase. Support for master’s programs would clearly decline. Midwifery programs in Schools of Nursing would have to offer the DNP to compete for those dollars. If programs are longer, and more expensive, will fewer programs receive support? The Division of Nursing has not yet taken a position on the DNP.


  • DNP
  • clinical doctorate
  • midwifery education


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