A certified nurse midwife (CNM) is a specific kind of advanced practice nurse that specializes in women’s healthcare services. CNMs are licensed, independent health care providers with prescriptive authority in all 50 states. CNMs focus on participating as partners in a woman’s care and generally take a low-intervention, holistic approach to healthcare.
Samantha Corral, CNM, APRN, DNP is a certified nurse midwife at Creekside Center for Women.
Why did you decide to study nurse-midwifery and become a nurse midwife?
“I truly stumbled into it. I was finishing nursing school and flew out to Oregon on a whim for an interview with a midwifery nursing program. However, I fell in love with nurse-midwifery and saw a need for it in Northwest Arkansas (NWA). I knew I wanted to move back to NWA after my education and create a space for it. I feel fortunate that I was able to find a career that I love.”
What have been some of the most rewarding aspects of working in nurse-midwifery?
“I value the building of relationships with women. I cherish meeting women where they are, treating them as an individual, and being part of their health journey. When a woman comes in to deliver her baby, the health care provider shouldn’t feel like a stranger. You want somebody there whom you trust.
I treasure the relationship when a woman is in labor, and an intervention is needed. In this situation, I can talk to her and her partner about their options. I can make a recommendation, and they know they can trust me. As a nurse midwife, it’s a priority to me to build that relationship and to develop that rapport.”
What is most challenging about what you do?
“It’s very frustrating to me when I have a patient who doesn’t want to do something that truly is important for the safety of their baby. I will respect the patient and her autonomy, but I will still make recommendations about what is best for their and their baby’s health. At the end of the day, it’s the patients’ right to choose what to do, but I will still communicate all the pros and cons of a decision and advocate for the best health outcome.”
What’s a typical work week like for you?
“I’m in clinic Monday through Friday, 8 AM-5 PM. I’m also on call 24/7. Last night, I delivered a baby at 3:30 AM, and I’m working a full day today, supplemented by coffee. I do travel some on the weekends, but I try to remain on call if I’m still a reasonable distance from the hospital. And, of course, my partners at Creekside are always on-call as well in case I could not make it to delivery. I have a supportive practice that reminds me I do need to take vacations for my own health. When I do go on vacation, I let my patients know far in advance when I’m gone and who will continue their care.”
What types of low-intervention care, education, and support do you provide women before pregnancy?
“I do my best to talk to women early in their pregnancy about the kind of research they can be doing, such as on birthing styles and classes (Lamaze method, hypnobirthing, Bradley method, etc.). No style of birthing is superior; it’s a matter of finding one that aligns with the mother’s own style. I encourage expecting parents to attend hospital visits at Willow Creek. A woman’s self-education is so important to me. I’ll provide resources, but I encourage my patients to review the options available and choose what’s best for them.”
What types of low-intervention care, education, and support do you provide women after pregnancy?
“I like to see women at a minimum at two-weeks and six-weeks post-partum. The visits give me an opportunity to check in with the mom and make sure everything is going well with her health, lactation, milk supply, overall mood, etc. I encourage my patients to call anytime they have a question or a concern. I aim to be just as available to my clients post-partum as I am for prenatal.”
What is a common misconception people have about what you do?
“So many people think that a midwife and a doula have the same role. Doulas provide emotional support for the laboring mother and are typically not medically trained. As a nurse midwife, I went to medical school to get my degree. I’ll also provide emotional support, but I’m there to focus on providing medical support.”
What else would you like people to know about your job/career?
“I would love for people to realize that I do so much more than deliver babies. I see women across their entire lifespan, much like an OB/GYN physician. A certified-nurse midwife can take care of pap smears, STD screenings, infections, hormone replacement therapy, and many more issues beyond prenatal care and deliveries.”
What are your hobbies？
“I love well-crafted coffee and all things brunch. To balance my ‘foodie’ habits, I also love running and have completed several marathons. My golden retriever Tilly also makes sure I get lots of exercise. I enjoyed my time in Portland, but it made me nostalgic for Northwest Arkansas, so I love camping or exploring the Buffalo on the weekends.”
Do you have any additional career goals that you are working on currently?
“I finished my Doctor of Nursing Practice in May 2018 from Oregon Health and Science University, where I got my master’s and did my clinical rotation. I’m also at the foundational level of lactation consultation certification; in April I’ll take the international board certification to be an IBCLC (international board-certified lactation consultant). Once I pass, Creekside Center for Women will be able to offer more individualized breastfeeding assistance.”
Can you summarize your philosophy of practice?
“Women can expect from me that I will always take their concerns seriously, guide them in what is best practice, and explain their options while respecting their autonomy of choice.”
Samantha Corral, Certified-Nurse Midwife
We are so thankful to have Samatha Corral on our staff. If you are looking for a Certified Nurse Midwife, consider her and Creekside Center for Women. We offer many services for women’s health including hormone therapy, birth control, and OBGYN services. We have the best providers in the state. Let us know how we can help you. (479) 582-9268