New York University College of Nursing (NYUCN) received a three -year, $1,002,318.00 grant from the Human Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) to research “Midwifery: Primary Care and Health Literacy Program Enhancement.” Principal Investigator Ann Kurth[AK1] notes that Nurse-Midwives state the largest barrier to incorporating primary care into practice is the lack of experience in clinical primary care during training. Enhancing the midwifery education program to include an expanded didactic and new specific primary care clinical component will eliminate that barrier for NYU College of Nursing Midwifery Program graduates and, potentially, will be a replicable model for midwifery programs that do not have a CNM/WHNP dual program.
“Certified Nurse Midwives play an essential role and are a crucial component in caring for medically underserved women and their families,” said the Program Coordinator of the NYU Nurse Midwifery Program, , Julia Lange Kessler, MS, CM, RN, LC, RN, NM. “There is an increased need for Primary Care Providers (PCPs) for the underserved, and Nurse-Midwives are within their scope of practice to fill this need. The HRSA grant seeks to address this area of midwifery practice which has been underutilized.”
This is a Nurse-Midwifery program enhancement grant that has three goals:
1) Expand the primary care component of the program so that midwifery student will be competent didactically and clinically to provide primary care to women (HP 2010/2020).
2) Add an innovative health literacy curriculum thread which will prepare midwifery students to promote development of patient health literacy competencies (HP 2010/2020).
3) Increase the enrollment, retention, and graduation of diverse students in the midwifery program to meet workforce demands (HP 2010/2020).
Expanding the role of midwives as primary care providers (PCPs), can help improve health outcomes in the lives of underserved and vulnerable women throughout the lifespan. While the importance of caring for pregnant women cannot be over emphasized, caring for women over their life span should not be under emphasized. This can be accomplished as midwives increase their competency in primary care.
Health literacy has emerged as a public policy priority. Health literacy includes the promotion of health self-efficacy and positive knowledge, skills, attitudes/values about: preventive primary care, pre-conception care, pregnancy care, childbirth education, post-partum, newborn care, and how to effectively navigate the primary care health system thereby increasing effective self-management of their own health destinies by making informed choices.
An innovative health literacy curriculum thread will enhance the education of midwifery students by preparing them to be competent to provide health literacy interventions that contribute to decreasing the health disparities and improving the health outcomes of the women/families they will serve.
“Survey data indicate that the number of births attended by CNMs have doubled in the last ten years while there has been a corresponding decrease in the number of midwifery programs and practicing midwives,” Kessler said. “If the supply is to keep pace with the obvious demand for midwifery services, expanding enrollment is an educational and workforce priority. An assertive recruitment and retention program to increase the number and diversity of graduating midwifery students is of paramount importance,” she emphasized. Kessler serves on the NYS Board of Midwifery.
About the New York University College of Nursing
NYU College of Nursing is a global leader in nursing education, research, and practice. It offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing; Master of Arts and Post-Master’s Certificate Programs; a Doctor of Philosophy in Research Theory and Development, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. For more information, visit www.nyu.edu/nursing.