The high quality of obstetric care provided by certified nurse midwives (CNMs) has led some to hypothesize that collaboration with CNMs may encourage more family medicine (FM) residents to subsequently practice maternity care. Our goal was to understand the current state of CNM involvement in FM resident education.
We conducted two surveys: one to a random sample of 180 FM program directors, and one to 147 CNMs involved in medical education. The surveys examined the nature, prevalence, and attitudes regarding CNM involvement in FM residency training.
The surveys’ response rate was 59% from FM program directors and 58% from CNMs. Thirty-six percent of FM directors reported no CNM involvement in their residency programs, 26% reported minimal interaction, and only 6% reported a fully integrated model with CNMs on faculty. Eighty-eight percent of CNMs and 64% of program directors reported a prefence for increased interaction. Programs with highly involved CNMs reported 33% of graduates subsequently practicing prenatal care, with only 13% of graduates practicing in programs with low CNM involvement (P<.003). However, there was no difference in those providing inpatient maternity care. Thirty-one percent of FM program directors and 25% of CNMs felt that physicians and CNMs have different ideas about how to treat patients; 26% of FM program directors who worked with midwives felt that CNMs should not be involved in residency curriculum planning.
CNM participation in FM residency education is very limited. Our study identified a gap between the current state and the preferences of CNMs and FM program directors for greater educational collaboration. Residency program director attitudes may contribute to the low rate of collaboration between the two fields.