Frontier Nursing University (FNU) alumna Jennifer Scott, CNM, recently left her hospital job to co-found a home birth practice in her local Old Order Mennonite community. Located in the Finger Lakes region of central New York, Jennifer and her colleagues opened Community Midwives in March of last year, filling a gap in maternity care in the area.
In a typical week at Community Midwives, Jennifer spends one day in an open clinic providing prenatal care and other services to the women who visit. She spends the rest of her week making postpartum home visits and being on call 24/7 to conduct home births.
According to Jennifer, the Mennonite women are not opposed to hospital care, but home birth is their preference. Without motor vehicles, the 45-60 minute distance from the Mennonite community to the nearest hospital presents a great challenge, so nurse-midwives are a cultural necessity.
Community Midwives is a simple, self-sufficient organization. They draw their own labs, book their own appointments, and spend their time on rural farms – but they are making an impact.
“I finally feel that I am answering the call!” Jennifer said.
Although Jennifer enjoyed her time working in a hospital and is grateful for the experience she gained, she admits it did not bring the same level of fulfillment that her current career holds.
“At Frontier, we were led by the example of Mary Breckinridge, who worked for the good of those in need rather than for fame or fortune,” Jennifer said.
The longer Jennifer and her colleagues work in the Mennonite community, the more they have come to understand the value in Mary Breckinridge’s career model.
“We came to help the Mennonite women without knowing how much we would learn,” Jennifer said. “The women I work with experience birth as I have always felt it should be; they have faith in their bodies and lack the fear of birth that most American women have. I love what I do because of the strong women I serve.”
A 2012 alumna, Jennifer built strong relationships with fellow FNU nurse-midwives she admires. The bonds she made with these “sisters” have lasted long past graduation.
“I am still friends with so many of my fellow alumni and we are always here to support one another. As we continue to expand Community Midwives, I hope some of my Frontier sisters will be interested in working with us in this region. FNU leads the way in how nurse-midwives are perceived in this country, and as long as they continue with their strong work, I will always be proud to be a Frontier alumna,” Jennifer said.
Thank you, Jennifer, for following the example of Mary Breckinridge and filling a gap of care in your community!
What is a Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM)?
Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) are educated in two disciplines: midwifery and nursing. They earn graduate degrees, complete a midwifery education program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME), and pass a national certification examination administered by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) to receive the professional designation of CNM. Certified Midwives (CMs) are educated in the discipline of midwifery. They earn graduate degrees, meet health and science education requirements, complete a midwifery education program accredited by ACME, and pass the same national certification examination as CNMs to receive the professional designation of CM.