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Nurse midwives honored during commemorative week

GREENVILLE, N.C.   (Oct. 3, 2005)   —   Local nurse midwives will join others across the United States to celebrate National Midwifery Week, Oct. 2-8.

In Greenville and Pitt County, there are 16 nurse midwives working in private practice, public health or in the East Carolina University School of Nursing or Brody School of Medicine at ECU. They provide direct patient care, education and research, said Jackie Hutcherson, director of the nurse midwifery education program in the ECU School of Nursing.

ECU offers the only certified nurse midwifery program in North Carolina. The program was initiated in 1991 as part of a legislative mandate to help combat the region's high infant mortality rate. The total number of nurse midwives practicing in the state has doubled since the beginning of the program, which recently produced its 100th graduate, Hutcherson said.

As a salute to area midwives, a reception will be held 3-4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5, in the Women's Center lobby at Pitt County Memorial Hospital. Hutcherson and Dean Phyllis Horns of the School of Nursing and Dean Cynda Johnson of the Brody School of Medicine will speak. Greenville Mayor Don Parrott has issued a proclamation for the week.

Nurse-midwifery practice focuses on women's health care during pregnancy and childbirth, postpartum and care of their newborn, as well as family planning and gynecological needs. Midwife means "with woman."

The certified nurse-midwife provides care and education that empowers women to become active participants in the decision-making process for their health care. Nurse midwives use a team approach that provides for consultation, collaborative management or referral as dictated by a woman's health status. The education model at ECU provides an interdisciplinary approach where future physicians and nurse midwives research, practice, and learn together. ECU faculty nurse-midwives not only educate student nurse-midwives, but also nurses, medical students, physician assistants and resident physicians, Hutcherson said.

The week also celebrates the 50th anniversary of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. For more information, visit


Contact: Crystal Baity | 252-744-2481