The first nurses in the country to finish a rigorous new nurse-midwifery program received their degrees May 14 from Dallas-based Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing.
The nursing school is the only one in Texas to offer the DNP in the specialty of nurse-midwifery, according to the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education.
The DNP degree offers holistic training that emphasizes non-intervention whenever possible. The training centers on clinical application rather than a research-oriented dissertation.
"The million-dollar question is why the U. S. healthcare system has not taken advantage of midwifery for women's health," said Mary Ann Faucher, PhD, CNM, associate professor of nursing and program coordinator at Baylor's School of Nursing. "Costs are less to an insurance company because of fewer cesareans, lower rates of technological intervention, shorter length of stay and lower payroll. "We trust birthing; we trust women's bodies," Faucher added. "The best practice is when midwives collaborate with an obstetrician if there are complications."
While nurse-midwives do not perform operations, they may assist and may prescribe medicine, including pain relievers. According to Faucher, nurse-midwives perform fewer episiotomies, fewer labor inductions and fewer instrumental births - those done with forceps or vacuum extractors - than physicians do.