Karen Hays, DNP, CNM, ARNP

Current Role

Karen Hays is a Certified Nurse-Midwife from Seattle. She is an adjunct member of the Bastyr University faculty, in the Department of Midwifery.


  • BSN, Summa Cum Laude, Humboldt State University, 1986
  • Diploma, Seattle Midwifery School, 1992
  • MN-CNM, Midwifery emphasis, University of Washington, 1996
  • DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice), Midwifery emphasis, University of Washington, 2011

Past Experience

Karen practiced as a home birth and hospital midwife in the Seattle area from 1993-2019, and has worked in both clinical practice and midwifery education in Africa, Asia and Latin America. She taught at Seattle Midwifery School during the 1990s, and returned in 2012 as a faculty member after the merger with Bastyr University. Karen has worked to promote professional midwifery practice in many areas, including expanding scope of practice for direct-entry midwives, establishing liability insurance and peer review for community-based midwifery, promoting the ICM education standards for midwifery, use of simulation to enhance midwives capabilities during perinatal emergencies, and midwives' involvement in disaster preparedness and response. 

Classes Taught

Current: Advocacy in MCH Systems

Previously: Independent Master’s Projects, Pharmacology, Newborn Resuscitation, guest lecturer in other courses

Interests and Professional Leadership

Karen is interested in all aspects of midwifery practice. Karen is an active contributor to the American College of Nurse-Midwives (Disaster Caucus), Global Health Media Project, Pronto International, and the King County Medical Reserve Corps. She has worked with MAWS and other Washington State organizations to develop programs for professional liability insurance for home birth midwives and birth centers and also for professional peer review. She has promoted expanded scope of practice for Licensed Midwives in many clinical areas, including pharmacologic medications, NSTs for fetal surveillance, and neonatal resuscitation appropriate for the home birth setting. Most recently, Karen has worked with others at Bastyr University to develop a new master's-level leadership program for birth professionals. 

Internationally, Karen has worked alongside midwives in several countries to promote and expand midwifery education and practice. Examples include working to establish a midwifery association and educational accreditation in Afghanistan, re-establishing midwifery education in Lao PDR, assisting in the development of midwifery credentialing for indigenous midwives in Guatemala and Liberia, and mentoring Namibian midwives to include clinical simulation to bridge the gap between the classroom and the clinical settings. For the past decade Karen's interests have focused on the care of women and infants when lives are disrupted by civil strife or disasters; much of her professional work now takes place in refugee camps and disaster-medicine mobile clinics (Liberia, Banda Aceh, Kashmir, Haiti, Philippines, Uganda border regions with DRC and S. Sudan), promoting midwifery-model care and human rights in healthcare.

Karen Hays, DNP, CNM, ARNP
Karen Hays DNP, CNM, ARNP
School of Natural Health Arts & Sciences
Department of Midwifery