Fetal Monitoring Courses and Classes Overview

Courses in fetal monitoring offer an opportunity for licensed nurses and physicians to learn to use equipment to monitor the heart rate of in-utero babies. These courses can be found within an electronic fetal monitoring certification program or as standalone continuing medical education (CME) or continuing nursing education (CNE) credits, which are required to maintain licensure.

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Essential Information

Courses are available at several levels, from beginning to advanced. Some courses in fetal monitoring prepare individuals for certification exams, such as that leading to the Certificate of Added Qualification in Electronic Fetal Monitoring (C-EFM) offered by the National Certification Corporation. This test is offered to registered and advanced practice nurses, nurse-midwives, physicians and physician assistants. Medical professionals can also take coursework leading to certification as a fetal monitoring instructor.

List of Common Courses

Below are examples of courses in fetal monitoring. Courses are offered through colleges and private organizations.

Basic Fetal Monitoring Course

This course provides students with an introduction to electronic fetal monitoring and can be taken online or in a classroom setting. It is designed for nurses just entering the perinatal field and must be completed prior to taking any other courses in fetal monitoring. Students are introduced to medical terminology and the principles of fetal heart rate assessment and documentation. Completing this course can award students CNE credits.

Intermediate Fetal Monitoring Course

This course is designed for licensed nurses or physicians with at least six months of fetal monitoring experience who have already completed a basic fetal monitoring course. Students learn through lectures and practical exercises. Topics include using fetal monitoring equipment to listen to the fetus heart rate, attaching monitoring equipment to the fetus and assessing the fetus' position in the womb. Students can earn both CNE and CME credits by completing this course.

Advanced Fetal Monitoring Course

Students must complete an intermediate-level fetal monitoring course and have at least one year of work experience in fetal monitoring before taking this advanced course. This course often focuses on labor and delivery case studies that involve unusual or complex circumstances. Topics cover fetal monitoring equipment, fetal heart pattern interpretation, risk management techniques and the physiological interrelationship between mother and fetus. Completing this course and its corresponding exam usually provides a student with CME or CNE credits and helps students prepare for their fetal monitoring certification exam.

Fetal Monitoring Instructor Course

Some programs offer a course that trains licensed nurses to teach fetal monitoring courses. This course focuses on education practices and techniques, as well as fetal monitoring information included in an intermediate-level fetal monitoring course. Participants must have at least two years work experience, be active in fetal monitoring activities, have completed an intermediate-level fetal monitoring course within the past three years and be a current member in the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses. Completion of this course designates a student as an instructor candidate and can also earn a student CME credits.

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