What is the Difference Between Nursing and Midwifery?

What is the difference between Nursing and Midwifery? This question is not unusual or unimportant, it is in fact a question that many people have in mind but are sometimes too shy to ask.

If you are one of such persons, do not worry, we try our best to make the difference between nursing and midwifery as clear as day to you. Continue reading for more details.

What is the Difference Between Nursing and Midwifery?

Before we start listing out the differences, let us take a look at the definition of the terms “Midwifery and Nursing”

In simple terms, midwifery is the profession of assisting women with pregnancy, childbirth, post-partum care, and generally reproductive health. Nursing on the other hand is a profession in healthcare that is focused on individual, familial, and community caregiving. Nurses help individuals and families improve their quality of life.

From the definitions, the difference is already glaring. However, these two professions are intertwined which is why they are sometimes confusing to differentiate. Let us take a look at the differences in the duties of nurses and midwives.

Nursing: Scope

Nursing encompasses a wide array of duties and responsibilities within the healthcare sector. Nurses are in fact the first point of contact for patients, they provide comprehensive care to patients in the healthcare sector including clinics, hospitals, and community healthcare centers.

They are involved in the administration of drugs, educating patients, bedside care, and even monitoring patients in critical conditions.

There are several specialties of nursing in Nigeria, they are:- Nurse Anesthetist, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Midwife, Family Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Informatics Nurse, Nurse Educator, Nurse Researcher, Oncology Nurse, Travel Nurse, Trauma Nurse, Dialysis Nurse, Infection Control/Prevention Nurse, Neonatal Nurse, Acute Care Nurse, Geriatric Nurse, Nurse Advocate, Public Health Nurse, Pediatric Nurse, School Nurse, etc.

Midwifery: Scope

“Midwifery is a branch of nursing” note this. It is a specialized branch of nursing that involves the provision of care to pregnant women; they also assist during childbirth and provide post-partum care (after childbirth care).

Midwives in Nigeria take up the responsibility of ensuring less mortality rate among infants and mothers. Their services include Antenatal education, child health education, prenatal care, assisting in child deliveries, and family planning education.

What is the Difference Between Nursing and Midwifery? Educational Paths


The educational paths of midwives and nurses differ in a way. Midwifery is pursued as a specialization under the nursing program. Nurses who have an interest in becoming midwives usually complete a three-year Midwifery program at a Nursing College.

They can now obtain midwifery qualifications “Registered Midwife” (RM). In this program, intending midwives are trained in the skills that will enable them to provide care to pregnant women and nursing mothers.


Education for Nursing education typically begins with a three-year Basic Nursing Program offered which leads to the award of the Registered Nurse (RN) qualification.

After the completion of this program, nursing students can either further their education by pursuing a Bachelor of Nursing Science (BNSc) degree.

Difference Between Nursing and Midwifery: Contributions

Nurses and midwives play very critical roles in the healthcare sector, one is not more important than the other in Nigeria.

Nurses are the pillars of healthcare establishments, they provide care for patients across all health conditions. Their contributions span from health promotions to managing chronic illnesses.

Nurses in Nigeria are the first point of contact for patients, they ensure the well-being of patients and check on patients before they are being attended to by doctors.

Midwives in Nigeria contribute significantly to the well-being of expectant mothers and also ensure their well-being during and after birth. Midwives provide antenatal education to expectant mothers and play very vital roles in the safe delivery of infants.

Aside from their duties during childbirth, midwives educate families on reproductive health and family planning. Nursing and midwifery share certain similarities but are very distinct professions.

We hope that we have been able to outline the differences between Nursing and Midwifery in a way that you understand.

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