The March of Dimes Nurse of the Year Awards honors nurses for their outstanding work and compassionate care. Each year, nurses are nominated by peers, family or friends. Finalists and winners are then selected by a team of qualified nurses. This year, University of Minnesota Physicians (M Physicians) Nurse-Midwife Ann Forster Page, DNP, APRN, CNM, FACNM, won the Distinguished Nurse of the Year Award.

Dr. Forster Page is adamant about using the March of Dimes recognition as a platform to highlight the effective and outstanding work that nurse-midwives can provide to the healthcare system

I would like to see it support the elevation of midwives in our system within the University as excellent independent clinicians, educators, innovators and researchers. The award represents the wave of positivity that is coming all around midwifery. I’m happy that I’ve been able to accomplish good work, but I’m really glad that midwifery is getting more recognition.

Dr. Forster Page

She is excited about several aspects of her work, including systems changes that increase the quality and safety provided during pregnancy and birth. These changes individualize care and include the patient and family in all care plans by making information easily accessible to those that need it most. “I’m really proud of a project that was born during COVID-19. I worked with four DNP students to create free, online prenatal and newborn patient education videos,” she said. The educational resources were shared with all midwives, family medicine clinicians and obstetricians throughout Minnesota.

I feel really lucky to work at the University of Minnesota, where I am surrounded by other providers who are committed to evidence-informed care and do so with a flat hierarchy that leaves room for all members in the team to have a voice – especially the patient. As the Nurse-Midwife Service Director for M Physicians, I lead an amazing group of 11 midwives. I know midwifery will continue to flourish here.

Dr. Forster Page

In addition to clinical care, nurse-midwives provide their expertise to different groups at the University. They educate many learners: advanced practice providers from the School of Nursing and students and residents from the University of Minnesota Medical School. She has been integral in developing interprofessional education with midwife students and OB residents, a combined effort between the School of Nursing and the Medical School.

"This work is crucial to improving the communication and safety of teams in labor and birth.  Midwife students and OB residents train together, do simulations and get to know each other as people. They train side-by-side and establish solid-working relationships with various residents in the M Health Fairview partnership,” Dr. Forster Page said. 

But, working with patients is an aspect of her work that she will always find tremendous personal value in. She finds that it gives her work purpose and clarity. “I can’t ever imagine leaving direct patient care. Caring for patients in the clinic and during labor and birth is in my heart; it’s an honor,” Dr. Forster Page said. 

State-by-state data demonstrates that the midwifery model of care is associated with decreased health disparities. The states with teams of maternity care providers that have integrated midwives into their practice are more cost-efficient and provide better outcomes. 

Previously, Dr. Forster Page was also recognized as a fellow by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), a national organization with the largest professional membership for the profession. The fellowship is an honor bestowed upon those midwives whose demonstrated leadership within ACNM, clinical excellence, outstanding scholarship and professional achievement have merited special recognition both within and outside of the midwifery profession.