Clinical Placements

Clinical Placement Information for Nurse-Midwifery Students

The program director, faculty, and clinical placement staff work to ensure all students have productive clinical experiences. The School of Nursing finds and assigns your midwifery clinical sites; you are not required to find your own clinical sites for the midwifery specialty. Preceptors and clinical sites are chosen for their ability to provide students with clinical experiences consistent with course and certification requirements and the mission of the school. Clinical experiences are designed to assist all students in meeting the American College of Nurse-Midwives Core Competencies for Basic Midwifery Practice. 

Students in the midwifery program will have at least one clinical rotation outside of the Nashville area in part to expose them to regional differences in nurse-midwifery care. Sites can be around the country at some international military bases. Given the large number of midwifery students across the country, agencies and providers have asked that all placements be coordinated by a school representative. Students are not to reach out to sites to arrange their own placements. If you identify a possible placement, please contact the specialty director who will work with the clinical placement office staff to determine if this is a feasible site. Due to regulatory requirements or a lack of appropriate preceptors, VUSN may not be able to accommodate clinical placements in all areas of the country. Please discuss your preferences with your specialty faculty to be sure you understand all possible options.

PreSpecialty (BA/BS in non-nursing field) Year Rotations

Students during their PreSpecialty year will be placed in group clinical experiences. These group experiences may be in a hospital or community setting in the greater Middle Tennessee area (MTA).

Fall I of the Midwifery Specialty Program

After completing our health assessment lab courses, students have one clinical day in our Vanderbilt practices within a 30 minute radius of Nashville.  

Spring Semester of the Midwifery Specialty Program

In the spring of the midwifery specialty, midwifery students have one and dual midwifery/FNP students have two clinical placements. Placements are focused on outpatient care including antepartum, gynecologic, and primary care. These spring placements are within a 4-hour radius of the School of Nursing. Students may have rotations in Kentucky, Alabama, and east or west Tennessee, depending on the appropriateness of the site. Faculty take into consideration a number of factors in assigning students to sites, including learning needs, home address, and clinical interests.

Summer of the Midwifery Specialty Program

Clinical placements in the summer are focused on intrapartum, postpartum, and newborn care. These placements are in hospitals, birth centers, and home birth practices around the United States or at US military bases. Students are on call or in the clinical setting to provide labor, birth, and newborn care at all hours, including nights and weekends.  When on call, students must be within 30 minutes of the facility and have reliable child and/or pet care for each 12-24 hour shift. 

Students have different summer and fall II sites. Faculty intentionally select each student’s sites to vary volume, populations, and preceptor skills sets to provide a diversity of learning experiences. At least one of the summer/fall II rotations will be outside of the Middle TN area.

Fall II of the Midwifery Specialty Program

The clinical rotation in fall II, known as Integration, provides the opportunity for students to integrate all of their knowledge and training in providing full-scope midwifery care across the lifespan within inpatient and outpatient settings. Students work closely with preceptors to master all the Core Competencies for Basic Midwifery practice, applying prior course content and skills while providing person-centered, culturally-appropriate midwifery care.  Outpatient visits are usually within business hours. Labor and birth care occur at all hours of the day and night and involves on-call time as well as scheduled shifts. 

Clinical Requirements

For clinicals at the specialty level, an active and unencumbered RN license, valid for the state in which the student is doing the rotation, is required. Depending on the clinical placement location, students may be required to obtain additional state licenses. Costs associated with additional licenses are the responsibility of the student. 

All requirements for enrollment must be completed and on file at the time of enrollment and kept current throughout the student’s clinical practica. Clinical preceptors and/or agencies may require a drug screening, fingerprinting, additional criminal background checks, or other requirements specific to that site. Costs associated with these processes are the responsibility of the student. The clinical placement office will notify students of any additional requirements associated with their rotation.

Students may not begin their clinical rotations until they have met all the site requirements and have received confirmation from their faculty and the clinical placement office that they are cleared to start. Faculty and clinical placement must approve any additional sites/clinics for the student’s clinical experience to ensure that the sites are appropriate to the student’s clinical objectives and a contract is in place with the site.

   Out of State Requirements and Additional State Information

Transportation and Lodging

Students are responsible for their transportation to and from all clinical facilities as well as lodging while at distant sites. While Nashville does have a public transportation system, not all of our sites are accessible via public transit. Ride-sharing services do not run in many of our rural sites. Students will need a reliable car and the ability to drive throughout the program.

International Placements

Many of our clinical sites work with vulnerable populations in need of culturally-appropriate health services. At the current time, our only international placements are at US military bases. This is for several reasons:

  • Midwifery practice is variable by country, and we focus on preparation for US practice as this is the information on the American Midwifery Certification Board exam and linked with safe practice after graduation. Our goal is to prepare you to meet the Core Competencies for Basic Midwifery Practice as determined by the American College of Nurse-Midwives. These competencies are compatible with the International Confederation of Midwives Essential Competencies. 
  • Vanderbilt is strongly committed to making sure all of our global health initiatives enhance short-term and long-health in ways the community values. Student availability varies by semester and without a sustained presence, we are unable to ensure the community would have lasting benefit. 

Students can participate in non-clinical global health programs, and VUSN offers a Global Health Certificate that involves in-depth study of global health and a mentored project. Visit the VUSN global health website. We have had many midwifery students obtain a global health certificate with their MSN. 

Due to State Board of Nursing or State Higher Education requirements, clinical placements may not be available in every location. We make every reasonable effort to accommodate a student’s placement requests.