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How can a nurse, with a master's degree in nurse midwifery but no certification or experience in this area find a job in women's health?

Wednesday October 23, 2013
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Dear Donna,

How can a nurse with a master's degree in nurse midwifery, who is not certified and has no women's health experience, find a job in women's healthcare?

Wants To Work In Women's Health

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Wants To Work In Women's Health,

I don't know what if anything you have been doing to find this type of work, what type of work experience you do have and if it is current, but I will tell you what you should be doing to transition into women's health.

For starters, go to local chapter meetings of the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses (www.awhonn.org) even as a guest for now. Bring business cards and resumes and make some connections while there. Let the people you speak with there know what you are interested in doing. Afterward, do some informational interviewing (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Interviewing) with the officers of the association and members. When there's something you want to do it makes sense to rub elbows with those already doing it. Plus, networking is well known to be a very effective way to find and get a job.

If not currently working, or if you can spare some time, start volunteering in a related setting such as Planned Parenthood, an inner city women's health clinic or birthing center, etc. Volunteering is a great way to gain recent, relevant experience, expand your professional network and get a foot in the door somewhere. Volunteering often leads to paid employment.

With your educational background, regardless of experience or certification, by all means apply for ambulatory care setting (including a women's health private practice run a nurse practitioner, nurse midwife or physician) positions. Most hospitals only are hiring nurses with current hospital experience so if that does not describe your experience then this may not be the right setting for you. Besides, care is shifting out of the hospital and into the ambulatory care setting anyway.

Best wishes,