Student Midwives

The Medical Board of California has recently received several inquiries regarding the provisions of Section 2514 of the Business and Professions Code and the practice of midwifery by a student.

Section 2514 states:
  1. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent a bona fide student from engaging in the practice of midwifery in this state, as part of his or her course of study, if both of the following conditions are met:
    1. The student is under the supervision of a licensed midwife or certified nurse-midwife, who holds a clear and unrestricted license in this state, who is present on the premises at all times client services are provided, and who is practicing pursuant to Section 2507 or 2746.5, or a physician and surgeon.
    2. The client is informed of the student’s status.
  2. For the purposes of this section, a “bona fide student” means an individual who is enrolled and participating in a midwifery education program or who is enrolled in a program of supervised clinical training as part of the instruction of a three year postsecondary midwifery education program approved by the board.
-- BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS CODE SECTION 2514

Most of these inquiries involve individuals who may have executed a formal agreement to be supervised by a licensed midwife but are not enrolled in any approved midwifery education program. In some cases, the individual represents that he or she is “studying midwifery on his or her own”. In either of these circumstances, the individual is not a bona fide student because he or she is not formally enrolled in a midwifery educational institution or a program of supervised midwifery clinical training as part of the instruction of a three year postsecondary midwifery education program approved by the board. A student must be formally enrolled at a midwifery educational institution in order to participate in a program of supervised midwifery clinical training that is offered by that educational institution. A written agreement between a licensed midwife and a "student" does not qualify as a "program of supervised clinical training" as the training is not part of the instruction of a three year postsecondary midwifery education program approved by the board. Accordingly, these types of arrangements are not permissible as they are not consistent with the provisions of section 2514.