Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota partner up to expand the nurse-midwifery workforce.
With maternity care deserts—areas with no access to prenatal or delivery services—increasing in rural areas, the Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences and the University of Minnesota (U of M) School of Nursing are collaborating to expand the nurse-midwifery workforce in the Upper Midwest.
The collaboration creates a pathway for students admitted to the U of M School of Nursing’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program to complete about 1,000 hours of required clinical training at Mayo Clinic hospitals in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The program begins in fall 2024.
"The U.S. is facing a maternal mortality and morbidity crisis that is particularly affecting rural areas," says Judith Pechanek, DNP, RN, CENP, assistant dean of the Doctor of Nursing Program at U of M. "Through this collaboration, we will educate and train nurse-midwives to meet the reproductive needs of women both regionally and across the nation."
Indeed, areas where there is low or no access to maternal care affects nearly 7 million women across the United States, according to the March of Dimes’ 2022 report on U.S. maternity care deserts. This unavailability is growing, with a 2% increase in counties that are maternity care deserts since the organization’s 2020 report.
"Mayo Clinic expects a significant expansion of midwifery services across the Midwest over the next decade," says Miri Levi, DNP, CNM, MBA, director of midwifery services at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. "This collaboration with the University of Minnesota facilitates the recruitment, training and hiring of the next generation of midwives across rural Minnesota and Wisconsin."
Courses will be taught by U of M faculty as well as Mayo Clinic-certified nurse-midwives, who hold adjunct faculty positions with the School of Nursing. The program’s hybrid structure is designed to maximize education while offering flexibility.
Collaboration between U of M and Mayo Clinic nursing dates to 2002 when the school first began educating Bachelor of Science in Nursing students in Rochester.
"We are seeking new ways to engage learners to build the workforce of the future," says Leah McCoy, DNP, CNM, incoming nurse-midwifery program director at Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences.
"This collaboration will offer an innovative pathway for nurses interested in pursuing a career as a midwife," she says, "especially if they would like to practice in more rural areas of Minnesota and Wisconsin."
Carol Davis is the Nursing Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.
Maternity deserts are increasing in rural areas across the United States.
The Mayo Clinic expects a significant expansion of midwifery services across the Midwest over the next decade.
Courses will be taught by U of M faculty as well as Mayo Clinic-certified nurse-midwives.