30 Before 30: CNM

Certified Nurse Midwife

On my list of “30 Before 30” was to pass my midwifery boards within a month of graduating.  I graduated May 19th and took my boards June 17th, so I came in just under the wire.

I spent a week reading Varney’s Midwifery (no really, the whole thing) and making study guides, followed by a week of skimming through the ACNM Exam Prep Book and the Midwifery and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Certification Review Guide and answering practice questions (warning: despite being published in 2013 and 2010, respectively, there’s a lot of out-of-date information).  During this second week I got so bored that I decided I just needed to rip off the bandaid and take the exam (I was originally shooting for the end of June in order to give myself a month of concentrated study).  So, on Thursday afternoon, I scheduled my exam for Tuesday morning.

celebrating with my sister

celebrating with my sister

I took the test at an H&R Block here in Tucson.  The AMCB (American Midwifery Certification Board), is 175 questions long.  A certain number of these questions (I already forget how many) count toward your score and a certain number are trial questions that they’re thinking of including on future exams.  You can take 4h to complete the exam and you can go back to a question or review your answers at the end.  There’s even a comments section for each question so that you can write notes about your thoughts and feelings about that question (only for a midwifery exam, right?  I’m not sure if anyone actually reads those comments, or if they’re just for personal notes, but I tried to give constructive feedback in case anyone does read them.  Except for the question where I wrote, “dumb stats question,” regarding a…dumb…stats…question).  My whole exam took me 3.5h, which included three 10-minute breaks and time to review my answers.  I felt that only a few of the questions were poorly written (or irrelevant to practice) and all were pretty straight-forward (nothing sneaky like the NCLEX or some other standardized exams).  I got my results within minutes of finishing my exam and then went off to celebrate.

I woke up this morning with an “After the Ecstasy, the Laundry” kind of feeling.  There’s still a lot of work to be done – apply for licensure in AZ, get a job, etc. – but it does feel good to finally be able to say, after three long, hard years of work (and really an additional two years before that laying the foundation), that I am a Certified Nurse Midwife.

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