The Community Program

This program consists of ten 2-week long academic sessions (10 full days of class) that convene every 2-4 months to make it easier for students who cannot relocate to Maine.

Students who enroll in the program must identify potential preceptors before enrolling and will begin preceptorship in their 2nd semester.  Assistance in arranging for a preceptor is offered by the Clinical Director during the 1st semester at Birthwise. Preceptors in both programs receive a stipend for the work they do with Birthwise students.

Good candidates for the Community Program are:

  • Students who are not able to relocate due to family or other responsibilities.
  • Students already working with a mentor midwife who would like to augment their theoretical learning in a classroom setting.
  • Students who learn best hands on-practice is integrated with didactic learning.

Semester 1 (July-December 2016)

Total Credits: 12.8

Orientation (1 week in July 2016)
Session 1 (2 weeks in September 2016)
Session 2 (2 weeks in December 2016)
CLASS NAMENUMBER OF CREDITS 
TOTAL NUMBER OF CREDITS12.8
Orientation0.8This course prepares incoming students for their exciting journey ahead through orientation to the school facilities, the Birthwise staff, the principles and responsibilities included in the Student Handbook, and the academic and social culture here at the school. Students will have an opportunity to talk to a panel of current second-year students, during which strategies for study, self-care, and academic success will be shared. Finally, the new cohort of students will discuss the pre-class reading: two books that describe, through story and reflection, the life of a midwife and the accompanying philosophical and political underpinnings of the Midwifery Model of Care.
History of Midwifery1.2This course surveys the history of human childbirth, including the political history of the profession of midwifery, with a particular focus on the United States. Class begins with discussions of primal cultures and the development of Western medicine and then moves to Medieval Europe and Colonial America for an exploration of the ways in which childbirth practices have evolved through history and what the midwife’s role has been throughout. Special attention is focused on the culture of midwifery in the United States in the past 300 years, including granny midwives, those serving distinct or marginal populations, and the professionalization of midwifery and concurrent development of midwifery organizations in the past century.
Overview of the Human Body4.0This foundational course is an overview of anatomy and physiology of the human body with special emphasis on the pregnant woman, neonatal development, and applied knowledge for the practicing midwife. The material in this class serves as a basis on which all other prenatal, labor and birth, postpartum, and neonatal learning is built because it establishes both notions of anatomical/physiological range of normal and basic facts about how those ranges of normal shift in pregnancy.
Physical Assessment1.6This course teaches the student to perform a head to toe physical exam, including a gynecological exam with Pap test. Students will learn how to take comprehensive health, family, obstetric, gynecologic, and reproductive histories, and they will learn how to chart and explain their findings to clients. This very hands-on course helps students begin to develop clinical skills such as blood pressure, heart/lung auscultation, and speculum exams. Students should be prepared to learn and practice on each other in our clinical facility.
Normal Prenatal3.0This course lays the foundation for excellent prenatal care in the midwifery model. Topics include embryonic and fetal development, pregnancy-induced physiological changes, normal parameters of pregnancy, nutrition in pregnancy, and the components of routine prenatal care, including counseling, assessment of maternal and fetal well-being, basic lab work, and informed choice/shared decision making around optional available testing. Students learn and practice all aspects of care for the healthy pregnant woman.
Professional Midwifery 11.0This course, the first in a series of four, explores various aspects of professionalism within the practice of midwifery. Professional Midwifery I visits topics like informed choice, the hows and whys of charting, basic principles of medical ethics, and a midwife’s professional identity. At the end of this course, students will participate in a Cultural Competency training.
Skills Practice 11.0Skills days are for practicing skills previously introduced in a required course. Students are asked to come prepared to practice and perform each of the skills listed for each class day and are required to demonstrate each skill for the instructor before leaving for the day. A skills exam is administered at the end of each semester covering the skill objectives for that semester. Skills Practice 1 focuses on skills associated with Physical Assessment and Normal Prenatal, as well as general healthcare skills like universal precautions.
BLS for Healthcare Providers0.2This course prepares students to perform adult cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, and it ends with a BLS healthcare provider certification. This certification meets the requirements for the NARM application when working toward the CPM credential.

Semester 2 (January - June 2017)

Total Credits: 20.7

Session 3 (2 weeks in February 2017)
Session 4 (2 weeks in April 2017)
Session 5 (2 weeks in June 2017)
CLASS NAMENUMBER OF CREDITS 
TOTAL NUMBER OF CREDITS20.7
Normal Labor & Birth3.2This core course explores the physiologic process of normal labor and birth in detail, and it focuses in on the midwife’s role in caring for a laboring woman up through the immediate postpartum period. The course, which has theoretical, visual, role-play, and hands-on skills learning, serves as an educational foundation upon which all of the information in its later partner class Complications of Labor and Birth is built. Basic midwifery skills such as labor support, aseptic technique, universal precautions, intrapartum examinations, injections, suturing techniques are learned and practiced.
PostPartum1.6This course focuses on the mother in the period after giving birth until the sixth week postpartum. Students will learn the normal physiology of this period as well as the potential complications and their management options, creating detailed practice guidelines that they can use in future practice. All aspects of midwifery care in the postpartum period will be discussed, including the care and support of the physical, social and psychological transitions inherent in this period of a woman’s life.
Normal Newborn2.0This course focuses exclusively on the new baby, from the point of birth to six weeks postpartum, including the physiological transition from fetus to newborn, nutrition for the newborn and infant, infant care, and parent education topics related to the newborn. Students will learn how to perform a complete head-to-toe newborn assessment, and by the end of the course, they will have a clear understanding of the parameters of normal for the newborn.
Neonatal Resuscitation0.4In this course, students will learn how to make management decisions about the need for neonatal resuscitation, and they will learn the skills necessary to perform resuscitations using positive pressure ventilation (PPV) and chest compressions. Upon completion of the class, including successfully passing both a skills and written exam, students will receive certification in Neonatal Resuscitation from the American Heart Association.
Prenatal Complications4.0This course, which builds upon foundational information learned in Normal Prenatal, focuses on the prevention, diagnosis, and midwifery management of deviations from normal over the course of pregnancy. Throughout this course, a comprehensive set of potential variations and complications will be explored and students will be expected to develop their management skills in relation to each potential deviation. At the end of class, students will have compiled an exhaustive set of practice guidelines to use in their future practices.
Counseling and Mental Health1.4This course creates a space for students to process their life-changing journey towards midwifery with the help of a skilled facilitator. In this safe and therapeutic context, students learn counseling skills and begin practicing these together. Over the course of Counseling Skills and Group Process, students will learn appropriate communication and listening skills and principles of interpersonal communication with, and support for, women and/or families who are bereaved after a loss or undesired outcome, and they will discuss, and model for each other, how to behave in a courteous, non-judgmental, non-discriminatory, and culturally appropriate manner with all clients. As well as prepares students to work with clients with current or past mental health issues: depression, personality disorders, eating disorders, trauma histories, and grief. Class topics include treatments, counseling techniques, resources and when to refer a client for higher-level care or intervention.
Professional Midwifery 21.0This course, the second in a series of four, further explores issues of professionalism in the practice of midwifery. Students will practice writing informed choice documents and giving verbal informed choice to clients, they will further hone their charting skills, they will explore issues of client confidentiality through HIPAA, they will learn to communicate clearly and effectively with EMS and hospital staff in case of transport and their peers in case of peer review, and they will continue discussions from Professional Midwifery 1 about ethics and cultural competency.
Skills Practice 21.7Skills days are for practicing skills previously introduced in a required course. Students are asked to come prepared to practice and perform each of the skills listed for each class day and are required to demonstrate each skill for the instructor before leaving for the day. A skills exam is administered at the end of each semester covering the skill objectives for that semester. Skills Practice 2 focuses on skills learned in Normal Prenatal, Normal Labor and Birth, Postpartum, and Normal Newborn.
Preceptorship 15.0The bulk of experiential and hands-on learning in a student's training at Birthwise happens in the Preceptorship, a one-on-one training relationship arranged by the student with a practicing midwife anywhere in the United States. Preceptorship placements begin in the fourth semester for Campus Students and in the second semester for Community Students. Students remain in their preceptorship until they've completed their required numbers and are ready to graduate.
Suturing Workshop.04For Campus Students, 3-day Homecoming sessions are opportunities for students to return to the Birthwise Campus, spend time together, share and discuss interesting case studies, practice advanced skills, and be evaluated via OSATS (Objective, Structured Assessment of Technical Skills). Students have to arrange for travel to and from Birthwise and housing while they are here. Graduation takes place the Saturday after Homecoming 2 for students who are finished with their clinical and course work.

Semester 3 (July - December 2017)

Total Credits: 17.5

Session 6 (2 Weeks in August 2017)
Session 7 (2 Weeks in November 2017)
CLASS NAMENUMBER OF CREDITS 
TOTAL NUMBER OF CREDITS17.5
Complications of Labor and Birth4.0This course focuses on the complications and variations that can occur during the birth process and in the immediate postpartum period. One of the most challenging and foundational pieces of midwifery education here at Birthwise, this course explores each complication in detail and how it is managed in the home or birth center setting. A typical class day consists of discussion-driven theoretical learning plus hands-on skills practice in which students manage complications through role-play, case studies, and simulation activities. Throughout class, students will work to build an extensive set of practice guidelines that will become a foundational guide for their own future midwifery practices.
VBAC/Cesarean Seminar0.6Students will explore the risks of giving birth vaginally after a Cesarean, how to minimize them, and the current controversy and evidence relating to VBAC both inside and outside the hospital setting. After taking this course, students will have a better understanding of the criteria necessary for safer out-of-hospital VBAC and will be prepared to give excellent informed choice to clients considering a VBAC.
Whole Food Nutrition0.8This course is designed to inspire students to look at their own eating habits as they learn to counsel clients on optimal nutrition in pregnancy, postpartum and throughout their lives. We will take a broad look at the evolution of agriculture and the human diet and the impact that has had on the health of populations. Particular attention will be paid to the modern American diet and the effects of the current food industry on the quality of our food. We will discuss strategies for eating a healthy diet and how we can work with clients in a empowering, non-judgmental, transformative way to improve their health through nutrition. Part of this course will be spent in the kitchen.
Therapeutic Nutrition1.6Therapeutic Nutrition and Supplementation is a study of the macro and micronutrients and their role in the body to promote health. In this class, students will learn how they can use food and supplements to promote health and to treat conditions during the reproductive years and beyond. Students will also have a clear understanding of how to evaluate a prenatal supplement for quality, best absorption, side effects, and effectiveness after completion of this class.
Waterbirth Seminar0.3Students will learn the benefits, risks and how-to’s of birth in water. They will be familiar with the supplies and equipment needed to set up a tub, and they will learn the midwifery management of a typical waterbirth, including anything that might risk someone out of a waterbirth. The class contains a hands-on component where students will be able to set up and take down a tub.
Research Methods1.0This course prepares students to be able to read, understand and use scientific research both as student-researchers and in their work as midwives. Students will learn the important terminology used in research literature and they will be able to identify essential components of quality research studies. This course lays the foundation for skills that will be called upon during creation of a student’s senior research project.
Breastfeeding Seminar0.8This course, taught by a Certified Lactation Counselor, explores the breast and lactation in great detail. Students learn about the normal process of breast milk production and breastfeeding as well as the more common challenges and complications experienced by breastfeeding women. This course will prepare students to assist and counsel women on the initiation of breastfeeding and the promotion of easier breastfeeding through good techniques and diet, and it will prepare students for the management of some of the complications that can arise.
Skills Practice 31.4Skills days are for practicing skills previously introduced in a required course. Students are asked to come prepared to practice and perform each of the skills listed for each class day and are required to demonstrate each skill for the instructor before leaving for the day. A skills exam is administered at the end of each semester covering the skill objectives for that semester. Skills Practice 3 focuses on skills learned in complications classes.
Preceptorship 27.0

Semester 4 (January - June 2018)

Total Credits: 19.6

Session 8 (2 Weeks in February 2018)
Session 9 (2 Weeks in May 2018)
CLASS NAMETOTAL NUMBER OF CREDITS 
TOTAL NUMBER OF CREDITS19.6
Newborn Complications1.6This course focuses exclusively on the new baby, from the point of birth to six weeks postpartum, including the physiological transition from fetus to newborn, nutrition for the newborn and infant, infant care, and parent education topics related to the newborn. Students will learn how to perform a complete head-to-toe newborn assessment, and by the end of the course, they will have a clear understanding of the parameters of normal for the newborn.
Well Body Care2.0This course, taught by a Certified Nurse Midwife, prepares students to provide routine preventive care to women outside the childbearing year. Topics include sexuality, infertility, preconception counseling, gynecological disorders and infections, breast and cervical cancer screening, contraception, unwanted pregnancy and menopause. As part of class, students will create a set of well body practice guidelines that they will be able to use in future practice.
Labwork for Midwives1.6This course, taught by a Certified Nurse Midwife, focuses the indications for, the risks and benefits of, and interpretation of the results of the routine, optional and specialized lab tests available to pregnant women and their newborns. In a mix of theoretical and hands-on learning, students will also learn basic lab skills used in midwifery offices such as microscopy, hemoglobin/hematocrit readings, and urinalysis. They also learn how to set up a laboratory, including federal and state requirements, care and keeping of instruments, and proper collection, storage, and transport of blood, urine, and culture specimens.
Public Health Issues for Midwives0.8This survey course is designed to introduce the midwifery student to the language and concepts of basic public health issues that relate to being a member of the maternity care team. Students will explore issues like social determinants of health, the principles of community-based primary care, causes of maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity, basic epidemiology, the principles of health education, and national public health programs and initiatives.
Homeopathy for Midwives0.8This introductory course in homeopathy, taught by a Naturopath and CPM, has a special focus on the use of homeopathic medicines for both a woman in the childbearing year and for her newborn. By the end of the class, students will understand the history, philosophical and theoretical underpinnings, and use of homeopathic remedies, and they will understand how to take cases and use a homeopathic Materia Medica.
Professional Midwifery 31.6This course, the third in a series of four, further explores issues of professionalism in midwifery such as informed choice, charting, peer review, ethics, and communication with other care providers. The course also delves into several aspects of midwifery as a business, including designing and maintaining an office, incorporation, marketing, networking, licensing and credentialing, setting fee schedules, billing, legal issues, and 3rd party reimbursement.
Independent Research3.0During this course, students research, draft, workshop, edit, and polish an in-depth research paper on a relevant midwifery topic of the student’s choosing. At the end of the semester, students formally present their senior research project, in the form of an oral presentation, to their sister students, Birthwise faculty/staff, and local midwives. Excellent projects may be given the opportunity for publication in Midwifery Matters magazine.
Skills Practice 41.2Skills days are for practicing skills previously introduced in a required course. Students are asked to come prepared to practice and perform each of the skills listed for each class day and are required to demonstrate each skill for the instructor before leaving for the day. A skills exam is administered at the end of each semester covering the skill objectives for that semester. Skills Practice 4 focuses on skills learned in Lab and complications classes. This Skills course has the addition of Integration Days, which are designed to develop students’ ability to apply their theoretical learning to clinical practice.
Preceptorship 37.0

Semester 5 (July - December 2018)

Total Credits: 16.5

Session 10 (2 Weeks in August 2018)
CLASS NAMETOTAL NUMBER OF CREDITS 
TOTAL NUMBER OF CREDITS16.5
Pharmacology for Midwives1.2This course, taught by a Certified Nurse Midwife, gives a foundation in pharmacology with a special focus on the pregnant and lactating woman. In this class, students will explore the safety of over-the-counter and prescription drugs during pregnancy and lactation. They will learn about the commonly used drugs in pregnancy and birth, their administration, dose, and possible side effects. Students will learn how to properly administer IV fluids, prophylactic antibiotics in labor, sterile water injections and anti-hemorrhagic medications.
Botanicals1.2This course, taught by a local herbalist, is an introduction to medicinal plants with a special focus on herbs for women and their babies in the childbearing year. The pharmacology, safety, and benefits of commonly used herbs will be included. Students will learn plant identification, harvesting and how to make medicinal preparations, including tinctures, infusions and salves. The learning is both theoretical and hands-on, and students will have the opportunity to make their own preparations as part of class.
Birth Center Seminar0.4This introductory course will explore the logistical, financial and legal aspects of opening and operating a freestanding birth center. Students will learn about every aspect of center conception and management, from designing and opening a center, to billing, to hiring help, to integrating students, and much more. Students will be able to design and share their own ideal birth centers with the class.
Hospital Birth Seminar0.4The overall goal of this class, which is taught by a CPM and former OB nurse, is to prepare future midwives to facilitate a smooth transition from home to hospital and a positive hospital experience for their clients in the case of transfer of care for prenatal risk factors or transport during the birth. In class, students acquire knowledge of typical procedures done, equipment used and policies observed in the hospital maternity center, and they discuss the importance of both understanding the client’s choices, rights and desires for the birth experience and developing the ability to advocate for these desires while respecting the boundaries necessary in a transfer of care.
Professional Midwifery 41.6This course, the last in a series of four on professionalism in midwifery, explores issues of regulation, licensure, certification, education and training, standards of care, professional etiquette, and the further development of practice guidelines in midwifery practice. Students will be exposed to the various professional organizations in midwifery, and they will explore models of maternity care across the world.
Skills Practice 50.7Skills 5, a Community Students class, consists entirely of OSATS examinations (Objective, Structured Assessment of Technical Skills) which take place at Birthwise during a class session. Skills 5 takes the place of Homecoming Workshop 1 for Community Students.
Preceptorship 411.0

Semester 6 (January - July 2019)

Total Credits: 17.2
CLASS NAMETOTAL NUMBER OF CREDITS 
TOTAL NUMBER OF CREDITS17.2
Homecoming Workshop 21.2At or near the completion of their clinical experiences in Preceptorship, Community Students return to Birthwise for a 3-day Homecoming Workshop. Homecoming sessions are opportunities for students to return to the Birthwise Campus, spend time together, share and discuss interesting case studies, practice advanced skills, and be evaluated via OSATS (Objective, Structured Assessment of Technical Skills). Students have to arrange for travel to and from Birthwise and housing while they are here. Graduation takes place the Saturday after Homecoming 2 for students who are finished with their clinical and course work.
Preceptorship 516.0

 

Total Credits for Graduation: 104.3 credits

Total Length of Program: 36 months (full-time)

Maximum length: 6 years (72 months)