In the heart of Grand Junction, CO., four Frontier Nursing University (FNU) alumni with a passion for nurse-midwifery are mentoring the next generation through precepting. Patty Kandiko, CNM, Jeana Smith, CNM, Karin VanderVelde, DNP, CNM, WHNP-BC, and Karen Ady, CNM are all being honored as FNU’s 2020 Winter Term featured preceptors. Patty, Jeana, and Karin V. are currently catching babies at Bloomin’ Babies Birth Center, while Karen A. works at Mesa Midwives on the Western slope of Colorado.
Preceptors play a significant role in a nurse-midwife’s education – especially in recent FNU graduate Heidi Phillips’ case. According to Heidi, she first crossed paths with her preceptors in an unusual but oddly meant-to-be way. In 2018 during her cross-country move to Oregon for a hospital clinical site, Heidi and her husband made plans to stop in Grand Junction, Colo. to see Community Hospital which her great-grandfather Dr. Kenneth Graves founded in 1946. Heidi began searching on Google for the hospital and came across Bloomin’ Babies Birth Center. She looked further into the website and became intrigued when she realized an FNU grad founded the center. Heidi connected with Patty during that visit in 2018, and a year later when her Oregon hospital site fell through, Patty offered her a preceptorship position at the birth center. Heidi reached out to Karen A. with Mesa Midwives, a hospital midwifery practice in Grand Junction, who was also willing to be her preceptor.
“It is a huge blessing to have four Frontier nurse-midwives as preceptors because we all have the same vision to serve rural and underserved populations,” said Heidi.
Heidi knows that her preceptors sacrifice a lot for her to become a nurse-midwife. Karin V., for example, has not caught a baby with her own hands in months. She and many other preceptors choose to give up that privilege for a time so students like Heidi can pursue their own dreams.
According to Heidi, her preceptors were particularly supportive during the period of time from August 2019 to February 2020 as she was on call 24/7, meeting her clinical requirements.
“My preceptors’ attention to detail, instruction of critical skills and overall care have influenced me to do the same for students in the future. I am looking forward to being a preceptor one day once I get more experience under my belt,” said Heidi.
Upon graduating, Heidi will join Patty, Jeana, and Karin V. at Bloomin’ Babies Birth Center, where she is excited to continue to fulfill the vision of Mary Breckinridge and FNU to meet the needs of women in Grand Junction.
“What an honor to be serving the rural populations of Western Colorado, just as my great-grandfather did over half a century ago. I am overjoyed by the opportunity to provide the midwifery model of care alongside the most passionate and empowering nurse-midwives I know,” said Heidi.
Thank you, preceptors, for investing in FNU students and the future of nurse-midwifery!
2020: Year of the Nurse and the Midwife
Frontier Nursing University (FNU) is proud to support and join the World Health Organization’s international campaign designating 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.” In recognizing the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, FNU joins the efforts to raise awareness of healthcare shortages in the U.S. and abroad; demonstrate the need for more nurses and nurse-midwives; educate the public of the value of nurses and nurse-midwives in their communities and advocate for access to quality healthcare for every individual.
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.