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Looking at nurse midwife practice standards in Kentucky

In our previous post, we mentioned that there is a bill in the Kentucky Senate that would establish a state board to oversee non-nurse midwives who have the credential of Certified Nurse Midwife. The aim would be to establish some sort of regulatory framework to ensure quality of care by these providers, and which would allow the state to hold them accountable when they fail to abide by established standards.  

As for nurse midwives, they are regulated by the Kentucky Board of Nursing, which issues permits for practice, oversees compliance with practice standards, and handles disciplinary matters. The practice standards to which nurse midwives are held can be considered legal duties to which nurse midwives are held. Failure to abide by these standards opens a nurse midwife up not only to disciplinary action, but also malpractice litigation.

The following are among the standards to which nurse midwives are held:

  • Render serve to the mother and baby throughout the maternity cycle, making a maximum contribution to their safety, health and welfare, including the control and prevention of complicating conditions
  • Not exceeding the boundaries of professional competence
  • Following medically approved protocols
  • Collaborating with physicians and other health professionals

Nurse midwives who fail to abide by these and other establish practice standards can be held accountable to the Board of Nursing. They can also potentially face liability in court if a patient chooses to pursue malpractice litigation.

Patients who have suffered serious harm as a result of negligent or substandard midwife care, particularly from a nurse midwife, can and should consult with an experienced attorney to have their case evaluated and to determine their legal options.