Nurse-Midwifery Specialty

The Nurse-Midwifery Specialty prepares students as competent midwives who provide family-centered primary health care. More now than ever, the need and demand for midwives is at an all-time high.

Our program is founded on a number of beliefs about health care for women and all persons. This includes the belief that all people have a right to safe and culturally respectful health care. Midwifery supports the normalcy of life processes through education, support, and safe clinical practice. Midwives can serve as advocates when needed and support the growth of client autonomy, empowering women and all persons to create health and wellness in their lives.  Furthermore, the midwifery program supports health care delivery by a collaborative, multi-disciplinary, approach, which encourages continuity of care and satisfying health care relationships.

The midwifery profession is integral to the development of sound health care policies throughout the world, which affects the lives of women and their families.  The program faculty provide leadership on local, national and international levels to promote health and wellness for women and all persons. The faculty assumes responsibility for maintenance of excellence in clinical practices and expanding knowledge through research and scholarly activities. 

The Academic Experience

Yale School of Nursing is consistently ranked in the top ten masters’ in nursing programs in the U.S., and attracts students from all over the country, as well as international students, all with unique backgrounds and experiences. The classroom is enriched by students bringing in personal expertise from a variety of fields of study, prior careers, global experiences, all tied together with a passion for women and gender related health.

Course content is intended to not only prepare students to be knowledgeable in their specialty area and pass their board certification exams, but also to become compassionate, ethical, professional, well rounded health care leaders.
All courses are offered on-site at the YSN campus in Orange, CT, allowing for an intimate, constructive, in-class experience where questions are answered in real time and students work together to learn under the guidance of expert faculty. This model allows for collaboration and connection with future colleagues, and the exceptional rigor of an in-class learning model that promote critical thinking in an environment where students know their professors well (typical student to faculty ratio in the department is 10:1).

Nurse-Midwifery Specialty students are prepared with the skills necessary to provide advanced care to women throughout the lifespan with a specialized emphasis on reproductive health care, labor and birth, and integrated midwifery care. Relevant research and concepts from nursing, midwifery, medicine, and the sciences provide a base for clinical practice and primary care. Students actively reflect on their clinical practice and leadership throughout the program. The program provides an environment for learning that is based upon the mutual respect of faculty and students.  Learning is self-directed and the responsibility for learning is shared among students and faculty.

Specifics of the program of study:

• Specifics of the program are outlined in the full-time program of study.
• Part-time study can be obtained by contacting the specialty director.
• Students may enter as either an RN or as part of the Graduate Entry Pre-specialty in Nursing (GEPN) program 

The Clinical Experience

Clinical practice takes place across a variety of health care systems that provide for medical consultation, collaborative management, and referral and is in accord with the Standards for Nurse-Midwifery Practice of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM). Students are placed in practices across CT and neighboring states and are responsible for transportation to their clinical sites. Electives and independent study courses offer opportunities for students to pursue individual educational and professional goals.

During the last semester of clinical experience, midwifery students are placed in practices all over the country where they work full time learning the professional role with the support and supervision of a preceptor. This requires obtaining an additional license in the state where they are placed and cost of living away from Yale for 3-4 months.  It is critical to have access to a car for transportation to clinical sites outside the New Haven community.


“I have found the direct entry type programs help equip nurse midwives with great critical thinking skills and encourages them to form individualized care plans. They have the benefit of coming to the profession making orders rather than taking them and are able to directly influence the outcome for women from a clean slate. I find these students to be from well-rounded backgrounds and very dedicated to the profession and empowering women.” - Heather, Preceptor 

Yale Midwifery Faculty Practice

YSN is home to one of the earliest midwifery programs and faculty practices in the United States. The Yale Midwifery Faculty Practice has provided care to women for decades at Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH) and the YNHH Women’s Center. The practice continues to thrive and since January 2014 attends births at the Vidone Birthing Center of YNHH’s Saint Raphael campus. The Yale Midwifery Faculty Practice works seamlessly with the midwives of the Center for Women’s Health and Midwifery to promote normal and physiologic birth. The midwives provide 24/7 midwifery care to the nearly 100 women who birth there every month.

The Yale Midwives provide compassionate, holistic and evidence based prenatal and gynecologic care to women across the life span. In addition, the Yale Midwifery Faculty Practice is a teaching practice for the school’s midwifery students. The practice collaborates with the Yale School of Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology to provide interdisciplinary education to midwifery students, medical students, physician associate students and OB/GYN residents. In addition to teaching students in the outpatient and hospital settings, the Yale Midwives support students in learning labs, simulation, and classroom teaching.

The Yale Midwifery Faculty Practice is excited to add an office in Westport, CT.  If you are interested in finding out more about the Yale Midwifery practice please contact Erin Morelli CNM, MSN via email at

Who Should Apply?

Prospective students who have a passion for midwifery care and desire to gain the skills necessary to provide advanced care to women and their partners throughout the lifespan with a specialized emphasis on pregnancy, birth, reproductive and gynecologic health care. The program is designed and continually revised to address the ACNM Core Competencies of Basic Midwifery Practice and skills required for today’s versatile nurse-midwife as medical knowledge expands, health care systems evolve, and technology advances in response to health care needs and evidence-based research.



The course plan for part-time study can be obtained from the specialty director.


The Nurse-Midwifery (NM) Specialty curriculum prepares students to be eligible for the Certification Examination of the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB). 

*The YSN goal for American Midwifery Certification Board pass rates is >85% as determined by the Dean and Executive Deputy Dean for all specialty programs.


The master’s degree program in nursing at Yale School of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), 655 K Street, NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791.

The midwifery program at Yale is fully accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME),  8403 Colesville Road, Suite 1230, Silver Spring, MD 20910-6374; Tel: 240-485-1803,

Helen Varney Professor of Midwifery

In 2009, Holly Powell Kennedy, CNM, PhD, FACNM, FAAN, was named the inaugural Helen Varney Professor of Midwifery. The endowed Varney Chair honors Helen Varney Burst ‘63, CNM, MSN, DHL (Hon.), FACNM, Professor Emeritus at YSN, and her pioneering contributions in nurse-midwifery education, practice and scholarship.