When the economy took a turn for the worst after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, bilingual reporter Kimberly Garcia knew she needed to begin again.
Because of a nationwide shortage of nurses and her own personal experience with midwives, Garcia, 45, enrolled at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland as a nursing and nurse-midwifery student.
Immediately, Garcia realized she had found her calling in one of the oldest professions in the world.
Due to her previous bachelor’s degrees in English and Spanish Literature, Garcia participated in a bridge program, allowing her to earn her registered nursing (RN) degree in just 16 months. She went on to earn her master of science in nursing, nurse-midwifery and women’s health in two years and her doctorate in nursing a year later.
After completing her degrees and working in women’s health in Cleveland for a year, Garcia, DNP, CNM, WHNP, joined the staff at Bradford Regional Medical Center in 2011, where she practices with Dr. Batchev and Dr. Peleg as a certified nurse-midwife.
As the only certified nurse-midwife in the area, Garcia provides patients with comprehensive obstetrical and gynecological services at offices in Bradford, Smethport and Mt. Jewett.
According to Garcia, she, like many other midwives, was drawn to midwifery because of the spiritual connection and responsibility the position holds.
“It’s a very big responsibility to help bring life into the world, for you to be the first person to put your hands on a baby and to support a family when they’re bringing new life in,” she said.
Because of the significance of the midwife role, Garcia said she doesn’t feel she was mature enough in her 20s to take on a role as important as caring for women.
“By the time I was in my 40s, I was ready to embrace the role and support women,” she said.
As a certified nurse-midwife, Garcia differs from the traditional stereotype of lay midwives. Certified nurse-midwives are required to be an RN and have a master’s degree. Because a certified nurse-midwife holds two licenses, Garcia has the ability and education to provide care to pregnant and non-pregnant women.
Garcia said lay midwives have no formal education and are instead apprentice-trained by other midwives. Lay midwives take care of women during pregnancy and attend at-home births, but do not see non-pregnant women.
See full article by purchasing the July 23 edition of The Kane Republican.