Rebecca D. Benfield

Rebecca D. Benfield, CNM, Ph.D.

Director - Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Nursing Degree Program

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Dr. Rebecca Benfield has practiced as a Certified Nurse Midwife for 28 years in a variety of settings including, a tertiary medical center, community hospital, freestanding birth center and Indian Health Hospital in Tuba City Arizona.  She has precepted a variety of students including nursing and medical as well as interns and off service residents and directed Nurse-Midwifery Educational Programs at the University of Washington and East Carolina University. In the UNLV School of Nursing, she serves as the Director of the Ph.D. in Nursing Degree Program.


Specializing in Midwifery, Dr. Benfield holds experience in labor and child-bearing studies. Her interest areas have included the effects of anxiety and pain interventions (hydrotherapy and epidural analgesia) on uterine contractility, labor progress and stress related neurohormones.

Education Background

Dr. Benfield received her MSN from the University of Kentucky with a specialty in Nurse-Midwifery and a PhD in Nursing from the University of South Carolina.


Dr. Benfield has conducted psychophysiological research with spontaneously laboring women at term gestation. Physiological instruments included: external uterine electromyography (EMG), intrauterine pressure catheter (IUPC), assays of plasma cortisol, epinephrine, norepinephrine, beta-endorphin, oxytocin, vasopressin, and urinary catecholamines and creatinine. Subjective measures of anxiety and pain included visual analogue scales.

Awards, recognitions, or group affiliations

Dr. Benfield was funded by NINR for a K01 Mentored Independent Research Scientist Development Award in 2003 entitled “The Effects of Hydrotherapy on Anxiety and Pain in Labor.”  She has reviewed manuscripts for journals, including Biological Research for Nursing, Maternal and Child Health Journal, Journal of Midwifery and & Women’s Health, Gynecological Endocrinology, and International Journal of Nursing Studies and reviewed abstracts for the Society of Gynecologic Investigation, Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science and the American College of Nurse Midwives. Dr. Benfield has also been a panel grant reviewer for the National Science Foundation SBIR/STTR Medical Instrument Grant Proposals. 

Currently, Dr. Benfield holds a Worker Without Compensation appointment at the VA Southern Nevada Health Care System. In 2022, she was inducted as Fellow of the American College of Nurse-Midwives and she is currently funded by Sigma Theta Tau for a research pilot study entitled “An Immersion Intervention for Symptoms of PTSD in Student Veterans.”