Nurse Midwifery Program and Practice Philosophy

The faculty of the Nurse-Midwifery Program at the Oregon Health & Science University share the following beliefs regarding

Midwifery Practice

  •  "Midwifery practice as conducted by certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) and certified midwives (CMs), is the independent management of women's health care, focusing particularly on pregnancy, childbirth, the postpartum period, care of the newborn, and the family planning and gynecological needs of women."*  Midwifery care is given within the context of the family and with a focus on continuity of care, health promotion and personal growth.
  • Midwifery practice is safe and competent, based upon science and art, both necessary and neither sufficient.  
 "There are two kinds of truth, the truth that lights the way and the truth that warms the heart.  The first of these is science, and the second is art.  Neither is independent of the other or more important than the other.  Without art, sciences would be as useless as a pair of high forceps in the hands of a plumber.  Without science, art would become a crude mess of folklore and emotional quackery.  The truth of art keeps science from becoming inhuman, and the truth of science keeps art from becoming ridiculous."  (Raymond Chandler, 1938)
  • Midwives strive for excellence in the care they provide and in their relationships with others.  Qualities that denote excellence include caring, ethical awareness, moral courage and personal integrity.  Midwives name and challenge indifference; understand power, its use and misuse; and act on behalf of women.

Healthcare of Women and Their Families

  • Childbearing is an essentially normal event that the majority of families experience without complications.  Even those whose experience deviates from the norm share the fundamental psychosocial experiences involved in birth.
  • Pregnancy and birth involve the entire family.  The addition of a new member alters both the structure and the function of the family system.  While posing new stresses on family relationships, childbearing provides the family with opportunities for growth and learning.  Nurse-midwives have unique opportunities to foster that growth and to strengthen the integrity of the family unit.
  • Women experience unique health care needs.  These needs are influenced not only by menstrual and reproductive physiology but also by tradition and by social, cultural, economic, and political forces in contemporary society.  These forces have a profound effect on health behavior.  
  • Women and their families have a right to culturally sensitive care.
  • Women and families have the right and responsibility to participate actively in decisions regarding their healthcare.
  • Healthcare can best be provided by interdisciplinary collaboration.  Health care disciplines have unique areas of expertise and the participation of each discipline should be determined by the needs of each woman and her family.

Midwifery Education

  • Midwifery education emphasizes the synthesis of practice, theory and research.  
  • Faculty serve as role models and provide a framework for learning experiences.  
  • Students are responsible for their own learning in a process of increasing self-reliance and personal growth.

* American College of Nurse-Midwives 9/2011