In December 2019, I was invited, along with Bridget Howard, Secretary of the ACNM Board of Directors, by University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing Faculty member Mamie Guidera to visit her Professional Issues class. During our discussion about ACNM membership, it became clear that most of these graduating students would like to continue their involvement with ACNM, however financial pressures prohibit them from doing so. Statistically, we see a drop off in ACNM membership among graduating students and it’s often challenging for them to re-engage with the association. As these students prepare to take their certification examinations, search for or begin their first midwifery positions, and begin paying off student debt, they frequently must choose between groceries and membership dues! I left this discussion determined to do something to help this cohort stay engaged with ACNM, as the resources ACNM provides are so critical to professional development and graduating midwifery students represent the future of our professional association. I especially wanted to keep graduating students engaged during our all-important year – 2020 Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.
At the end of December 2019, we announced the opening of applications for ten free memberships for recent graduates from ACME-accredited midwifery education programs. The application period closed on January 9, 2020 and we received 71 applications. The ACNM Membership and Marketing Committee was tasked with determining the winners based on the applicants’ statements of what a free ACNM membership would mean to them, and with the goal of selecting a diverse pool of winners based on demographic characteristics. This included our desire for representation in each of the 7 Regions.
Angie Chisholm, Chair of the ACNM Membership and Marketing Committee noted, “We were surprised to receive so many applications for the scholarships. In reading through the essays, we were impressed by the sacrifices and dedication of this group of applicants.”
Each of the ten winners of the free ACNM membership will provide volunteer hours to ACNM, based on a match of their stated interests and ACNM resource needs. This provides a great opportunity for the winners to deepen their engagement with ACNM and participate in an area that is meaningful for their personal goals and professional development.
Congratulations to our 10 winners! They are featured below with excerpts from their stated reasons for what a free ACNM membership would mean to them.
|I have been struggling financially after attending Grad school, so I have not been able to keep up with my ACNM membership. I would love to receive a free ACNM membership and become a part of the ACNM family again.|
|Having a free ACNM membership would allow me to continue to network with my fellow associates and affiliate members in my local area as well as with those during conferences. I will also be able to volunteer at the conference which provides a great opportunity to learn new things and get great experiences. Being surrounded by all things midwifery is always a great place to be and a wonderful part of being a member of ACNM.|
|We have 4 children and my husband is a firefighter, so life is a little chaotic with money and otherwise! I traveled 6 hours to my clinical site where I learned and grew into a midwife with some amazing people surrounding me. Becoming an ACNM member would relieve my family of so much burden and allow me an amazing opportunity to attend the ACNM conference near home to help network, learn how to promote midwifery, and build on my clinical skills.|
|I was hired into a high intervention and conservative practice with a goal of trying to change practice policies. I can do this better with access to ACNM materials and resources.|
|To have access to education, literature and skill development as a new graduate, black midwife while also having a network of support [through ACNM]. Midwifery is difficult to navigate as a profession and it is certainly much more difficult to navigate in a society that does not cater to black women and women of color.|
|I desire to help decrease the infant and maternal mortality rate in my area. The zip code next to me is the 4th worst in the country and we are in desperate need of increasing the diversity of midwifery to represent the women who need it the most. There is also a real need for midwives to be seen and heard and represented as partners and not “less than” in our field. I believe my participation in ACNM will offer me more opportunities to seek change.|
|With the recognition of maternal mortality and morbidity rates affecting women of color at alarming rates, approaching these issues in new and [innovative] ways is imperative. A free ACNM membership would enable me to begin my journey in taking an active part in the organization to further promote the wellbeing of women and midwives of color.|
|ACNM is a place where Midwifery shines, change is welcomed, and the mother and family are the center piece. I want to be a part of the group of women and men who make this profession what it is! I want to learn from the best, be able to inform others of its richness, and inspire others as I have been. A membership to ACNM would further my journey and stretch my path to midwifery in ways I couldn't even imagine, but am beyond excited for!|
|I went to midwifery school with the intent of using my education to work with refugees and women in developing countries where midwifery is needed the most. A free ACNM membership would give me the ability to continue to network with midwives internationally and abroad, have access to CEUs that will allow me to keep expanding my knowledge and skills as a midwife, and glean from the expertise of some of the world's greatest birth workers and change agents for women's healthcare.|
|It is amazing how much comradery and support can be found within ACNM. I really want to be involved in change for our patient population in this country and the best place to start is being involved and having a strong professional organization. I would use this membership to give back both to the organization and to the care our clients receive. I truly believe that midwives have the strength and fortitude to bring about change in our healthcare system.|
Director of Membership and Communications