Although nurses no longer work exclusively at hospitals, labor and delivery nurses are still primarily located at hospitals. Labor and delivery nurses assist women struggling with pregnancy, labor, and post-birth issues. They must be professional, possess good analytical skills, and have the ability to make quick decisions. While assisting patients, they spend a lot of time counseling families and collaborating with doctors.
Labor and delivery nurses assist and treat women during the following stages of child birth: antepartum, intrapartum, postpartum, and neonatal. They’re responsible for developing personalized care plans after meeting with and assessing the needs of expecting mothers. Labor and delivery nurses frequently work in teams with OB-GYNs, doctors, and other specialists to determine how best to treat patients. They initiate care by monitoring patients and their babies and teach them how to care for their newborns. Labor and delivery nurses evaluate the effectiveness of personalized treatment plans and alter them to meet the needs of the mother and her baby. Additionally, they counsel with patients’ families and offer them any emotional support they require.
Labor and delivery nurses can work in the following capacities:
- Antepartum Nurse – assists women with pregnancy complications requiring hospital stays
- L&D Nurse – assists women in labor whether they have complications or not
- Circulating Nurse – supervises patient care during cesarean deliveries
- Scrub Nurse – assists surgeons performing cesarean deliveries by monitoring patients, organizing instruments, etc.
- Postpartum Nurse – assists women recuperating from delivery
- Nursery Nurse – specializes in newborn patient care
Many labor and delivery nurses fill positions as clinical coordinators. These specialists supervise care and assign nurses to work with specific patients. Many L&D nurses specialize in medical sales, education, and research. After acquiring additional education, they can be promoted to management positions or obtain advanced nursing positions, such as perinatal clinical nurse and nurse practitioner positions.
High Risk Obstetrics is one of the main specialties within labor and delivery nursing.
Labor and delivery nurses are employed in the following facilities in urban and rural areas:
- Labor and delivery units within hospitals
- Medical clinics
- Doctors’ offices
- Maternity and birthing clinics
Labor and delivery nurses must be emphatic, good communicators and decision-makers, and have excellent analytical skills. Labor and delivery nurses typically have experience working in surgical nursing. They must be able to communicate effectively with patients and their families and other health care professionals. Since this profession can be stressful and fast-paced, they must also have effective stress management and organization skills.
Labor and delivery nurses are registered nurses. To become licensed as a registered nurse, you must hold a college degree or professional certificate. Additionally, you will be required to complete fetal monitoring and neonatal resuscitation training.
Labor and delivery nurses can also become certified in a variety of specialties by passing certification exams. Specialties include fetal monitoring, and postpartum and intrapartum nursing. Registered nurses satisfying certification requirements obtain the RN,C designation.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual salary for RNs is $41,400, while the median wage for those being paid hourly is $18.88 per hour. Nearly 30 percent of registered nurses make anywhere from $40,000 to $50,000 annually, while about 16 percent make between $50,000 – 89,000 annually.