Women's Health nurse practitioners are APRN's who specialize in the care of women throughout the lifespan. The focus on reproductive and gynecological health as well as preventive health maintenance. Additionally, some can address specific chronic health issues. Certified Nurse Midwives also manage the reproductive health of women, but focus mainly on pregnancy, labor, and childbirth.

Education

The education for both WHNPs and CNMs is similar. Both are advanced-practice nurses who complete either a master's degree or doctoral degree program. However, students may choose either the Women's Health track or the Certified Nurse Midwife track. While the course of study is similar and may have overlap, the CNM track emphasizes labor, childbirth, and the immediate post-partum and neonatal period.

Work Setting

Both WHNPs and CNMs can work in clinic settings. Women's Health NPs can act as a patient's primary care provider. This means that they can care for patients from an early age through the aging years. They may form long-lasting and life-long relationships with their patients and families. They can work in the inpatient setting as well, such as in emergency rooms or rounding on patients who are admitted with women's health-related conditions. They may even work alongside physicians as first assist during surgical procedures.

In clinics, CNMs educate patients on family planning, prenatal health, and the labor process. CNMs spend a significant amount of time in hospitals and birth centers. They care for patients during the antepartum, intrapartum, and postpartum period. Additionally, they assess and stabilize a newborn following birth. They may also intervene/refer during abnormal birth situations, or when a mother or fetus needs more intensive care.

Duties

The duties of a WHNP may include:

  • Performing well-woman exams
  • Reviewing preventive health needs
  • Contraceptive education and prescribing
  • Ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests
  • Menopause education
  • Diagnosing female related diseases that may include cancer, ovarian cysts, infertility, urogynecological disorders

The duties of a CNM may include:

  • Family planning
  • Contraceptive education and prescribing
  • Confirming/dating pregnancy
  • Prenatal education
  • Screening for potential congenital disabilities
  • Monitoring fetal development
  • Assessing labor
  • Managing complications during labor and referring when necessary
  • Performing episiotomies
  • Assisting with latching/breastfeeding

Pay and Career Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for WHNPs is $100,910 annually compared to $99,770 for CNMs. Advanced-practice nursing, in general, is expected to rise 31% by 2026. This is due mainly to a nation-wide physician shortage and an increased demand for healthcare services as a result of recent healthcare legislation.

Amanda Bucceri Androus RN, BSN
Latest posts by Amanda Bucceri Androus RN, BSN

Our Visitors Found These Nursing Topics Useful

Decorative homemade surgical mask and different patterned cloths behind

Are Cloth Masks Protecting Nurses From COVID-19?

COVID-19 hit our world unexpectedly, and a national PPE shortage came along with it. Nurses and other healthcare workers have suddenly been put in the position to ignore what they have been taught all along, and start reusing and cutting…

Difference in Workplace Roles of LPN's and RN's of Varying Education Levels

With the increasing age of the Baby Boomer generation and the onset of Obama Care, the need for nurses as never been greater. Skilled nursing facilities, hospitals, acute care rehabilitation, outpatient surgical centers, physician offices, and countless other medical facilities…

Woman nurse with a blue medical mask with depressed eyes.

Depression Rates Rise in COVID-19 Nurses: You are Not Alone

The walls are closing in. At least that's what it feels like to most nurses and healthcare professionals right now. When you add the global pandemic to our already physically and mentally draining jobs, it's no surprise many nurses are…

Writing or Obtaining the Perfect Nurse Recommendation Letter

Landing the perfect nursing position is an incredible accomplishment in a nurse's career. Many nurses have a specific "dream job" that they hope to achieve and do whatever they can to stand out from the crowd to earn an interview…

TEAS: Top 10 Study Tips

The Test of Essential Academic Skills ("TEAS" test) is an exam that potential nursing students may be required to take to ensure they have the academic skills and knowledge to succeed in nursing school. The test has 170 multiple-choice questions…