School of Nursing

Nurse-Midwifery Program Philosophy

The faculty of the Nurse-Midwifery Program at OHSU share the following beliefs:

Midwifery Care

  • Midwifery, as practiced by certified nurse-midwives (CNMS) and certified midwives (CMS), encompasses the independent provision of care during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period; sexual and reproductive health; gynecologic health; and family planning services, including preconception care. Midwives also provide primary care for individuals from adolescence throughout their lifespan and care for healthy newborns during the first 28 days of life (definition of Midwifery and scope of practice of CNMS and CMS, American College of Nurse-Midwives, 2021).
  • Midwifery care is given within the context of the family and community, focusing on the importance of cultural sensitivity, safety, inclusive and equitable care, health promotion and personal growth.
  • Midwifery care is evidence-based, competent, and based upon science and art, both necessary and neither sufficient.
  • Midwives value 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; recognize and strive to address interpersonal and institutional racism; understand power, its use and misuse; and advocate for persons they care for.
  • Midwives practice in accordance with the American College of Nurse-Midwives' standards for the practice of midwifery and code of ethics.

Healthcare of women and their families

  • Midwives respect the rights of all people, including women and gender-diverse individuals, to autonomy over their health, body, and care.
  • Midwives respect physiologic processes. Childbearing is an essentially regular event that most 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 strengthen the family unit's integrity.
  • 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 profoundly affect access to high-quality care, personal health behaviors, and disparate health outcomes.  Women and their families have a right to culturally sensitive care.
  • Midwives provide care within a relationship of respect, compassion, informed consent, and shared decision-making,
  • Health care can best be provided by interprofessional and interdisciplinary collaboration.  Health care disciplines have unique areas of expertise and the participation of each profession and discipline should be determined by the needs of each client and their family.

Midwifery education

  • Midwifery education emphasizes the synthesis of practice, theory and research.
  • The Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) degree at OHSU prepares graduates who are ready for practice in the specialty of Nurse-Midwifery, have a strong foundation in clinical and improvement science, focused on the future and embrace emerging models of healthcare, and are prepared for healthcare leadership in a variety of diverse settings.
  • Faculty serve as role models and provide a framework for learning experiences.
  • Students accept responsibility for their learning in a process of increasing self-reliance and personal growth.
  • Midwifery educators are called to grow a diverse midwifery workforce, which is essential to eliminating disparities in maternal-child health outcomes.
  • Midwives are aware of the increased risks, barriers to care, and disparities in health outcomes faced by many marginalized communities due to systems of oppression and discrimination. Midwives work to eliminate those obstacles and therefore need a thorough understanding of fundamental concepts related to discrimination and oppression experienced by people of color, women, individuals of diverse gender identities and sexual orientation, immigrants and refugees, and people with disabilities to provide culturally safe care (American College of Nurse-Midwives core competencies, 2020).

Program purpose

The Nurse-Midwifery program educates students to become competent health care practitioners, scholars, and leaders with clinical focus on the reproductive and primary health care needs of women and their neonates.