Midwifery Clinical Practice

Clinical Training

At Bastyr, students learn through hands-on training that overlaps with classroom theory. We use a time-tested apprenticeship model in which students work side-by-side with experienced preceptors(midwives who are legally practicing in their jurisdiction) and other healthcare professionals.  Clinical practicum rotations begin in the third quarter of the program and continue throughout the second and third years of the program. Clinical time with preceptorsand student involvement in skills increases as classroom time decreases, preparing students to integrate their knowledge and skills in preparation for entry-level practice.

Basic clinical skills, such as performing blood draws, intravenous lines, physical/pelvic exams, and cytology tests, are first taught in the classroom with qualified instructors and practiced and refined in clinical sites.  Prior to being assigned to a clinical training site, students will be required to obtain certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for healthcare providers and neonatal resuscitation, have a negative tuberculosis (TB) test and demonstrate immunity or vaccination for hepatitis B per university policy, demonstrate immunity or vaccination for other health conditions per specific state law or as required by their clinical site (which may include but is not limited to rubella, pertussis, varicella, and influenza),  and pass a criminal background check.

Where Students Get Clinical Experience

Students obtain their clinical experience in gynecology/family planning clinics, prenatal/postpartum clinics, homebirth settings, birth centers, and hospitals in North America. Students may work with licensed midwives, registered midwives, certified professional midwives, certified nurse-midwives, nurse practitioners, naturopathic doctors, physician assistants or physicians during these rotations.

The Department of Midwifery places all students in qualified clinical training sites and provides ongoing support to students throughout the practicum experience; students do not pay preceptors for their clinical experiences.  Students must live within a one-hour commute of an approved clinical training site and must be prepared to relocate temporarily if the community where they reside does not have adequate clinical training opportunities. This may require flexibility and the support of the student's family, as it may mean separation and economic challenges.

In our program preceptors are also known as Community Faculty who meet criteria established by the Department of Midwifery to supervise students. Community Faculty must be practicing legally, attending births as a licensed, certified or registered midwife for at least three years, and have sufficient obstetrical/gynecological volume to adequately instruct, supervise, and evaluate the student's clinical training. The Department of Midwifery screens and approves all potential preceptors and Community Faculty. Students work closely with the Clinical Education Supervisor in the process of being assigned to their clinical rotations.   Clinical training sites change frequently and prospective students are invited to contact the Department for more information.

Practicum - Midwifery

Practicum begins during a student's third quarter. Students start off very slowly, mainly observing for the first few months. What students are able to do in their preceptorships mirrors what they are learning in the classroom.

Basic clinical skills, such as performing blood draws, IVs, physical/ vaginal exams, pap smears, neonatal resuscitation, etc., are all learned by students in the classroom first. Students will be required to obtain training in adult CPR, and have a TB test, be rubella immune and pass a criminal background check.

Clinical Requirements for Graduation - Midwifery

Graduates must meet the following minimum clinical requirements:

Participation in 60 births, including at least:

  • 30 births in which the student functions in role of primary midwife under supervision
  • 20 births in which the student is actively involved in the client's care
  • 10 births in which the student is observing
  • 30 births in an out of hospital setting
  • 25 births in the US or the student's country of origin

Participation in 1,500 hours (the equivalent of 50 credits) of clinical work, including at least:

  • 400 hours of intrapartum experience
  • 800 hours of clinic time in prenatal, postpartum and gynecological care

Participation in 720 client contacts, including at least:

  • 300 prenatal exams
  • 100 postpartum visits
  • 50 newborn exams
  • 50 follow-up newborn exams
  • 50 gynecological exams

Clinical training for at least one year at a minimum of two clinical sites in the US or the student's home country. All clinical training is with preceptors who are practicing legally in their region and will incorporate:

  • at least one preceptorship in which the clinical faculty member is a midwife
  • one site for at least six months and 15 births (involved and supervised primary) in an out of hospital setting
  • one site for at least three months and 10 births
  • satisfactory completion of all levels of clinical evaluation

Demonstration of continuity of care by providing these continuous care services to at least 10 women:

  • 4 prenatal visits
  • 3 postpartum visits
  • in 3 of the 10 cases the student must function as primary midwife under supervision 
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