At the heart of Frontier Nursing University is a talented and diverse community of students, alumni, faculty, staff, couriers and preceptors. Spotlight blogs feature members of our FNU community who are focused on the mission of educating nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners to deliver quality healthcare to underserved and rural populations.
Since 2002, FNU graduate April Clyde, CNM has dreamed of opening a birth center in her community of Las Vegas, Nevada. After years of gaining experience, pursuing higher education and advocating for new legislation in Nevada to accommodate midwives, her dream finally came true nearly 10 years later.
In 2021, Clyde opened Serenity Birth Center, which is Nevada’s first and only freestanding birth center. Clyde said that Serenity Birth Center upholds a woman’s autonomy in making informed choices about her healthcare and her baby’s healthcare, in alignment with her personal values and beliefs. The center also extends an invitation to the woman’s self-defined family to participate in the pregnancy, birth, and postpartum phases.
“Birth centers are an integrated part of the healthcare system and are guided by principles of prevention, sensitivity, safety, appropriate medical intervention and cost-effectiveness,” Clyde said.
Inspired to Open a Birth Center During Frontier Bound
Clyde’s journey began in 2000 when she began working as a labor and delivery nurse after earning her Bachelors in Nursing from the University of Nevada Las Vegas.
“I loved the work.” she said. “At the same time, I also craved more autonomy and to be involved from the beginning of pregnancy.”
Clyde enrolled at FNU to earn her Nurse-Midwifery Post-Graduate Certificate. She was initially inspired to open a birth center while at Frontier Bound in 2002, where she met the late Kitty Ernst, a leader in the nurse-midwifery movement in the U.S.
“I told her how much our community needed a birth center,” Clyde said. “She took both my hands in hers and looked directly into my eyes and said, ‘then you will need to open one.’ If Kitty thought that I should and that I could open a birth center, then I better get to work!”
Clyde graduated from FNU in 2004 as a member of CNEP Class 36. She said the university was an ideal choice for obtaining her post-graduate certificate.
“Frontier has such a rich history,” she said. “I also needed a distance education program as leaving my community wasn’t an option. Frontier was a perfect match.”
That same year, Clyde began working as a CNM with a group hospital practice. She was the only CNM at the hospital, which she said gave her the opportunity to exemplify the midwifery model of care. In 2006, she began providing care for home births to families who had previously given birth with her in the hospital. The next year, she began serving as a preceptor for FNU and currently employs two FNU alumni that she precepted.
Advocating for Nurse-Midwives in Nevada
Clyde opened her own birth practice, Baby’s 1st Day, in 2008. During this time, APRNs initiated efforts to alter the laws in Nevada to permit them to practice at the full extent of their education and without mandatory supervision from a physician. This endeavor proved successful in 2012. Subsequently, Clyde collaborated with fellow FNU graduate Melinda Hoskins to bring about modifications to the birth center laws in Nevada, allowing midwives to establish and manage them. The legislation was passed in 2018, and the following year, they commenced the construction of Serenity Birth Center.
Since opening, Serenity Birth Center has offered pre-conception, pregnancy care, and labor and delivery/postpartum care, along with women’s care services.
“We offer another choice in childbirth for Las Vegas,” Clyde said.
To this day, Clyde said she continues to stay in contact with many of her former classmates at FNU.
“Midwives are a generous bunch,” she said. “I have had lots of help from other CNEP grads.”
In her free time, Clyde enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, practicing yoga and traveling.
Thank you, April, for your demonstration of the distinctive expertise and enthusiasm possessed by FNU graduates through the care you provide for Nevada families.
Read more in Why Should I Become a Nurse Midwife?
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