Postpartum nurses are a critical player in the process of the birth of a newborn. Their unique set of skills prepares them to work in various medical environments to provide care to mothers and babies. A career as a postpartum nurse is gratifying, rewarding, and filled with opportunities. If you’re interested in a nursing career in this field, keep reading to learn more about becoming a postpartum nurse.
What is a Postpartum Nurse?
As their name implies, postpartum nurses are medical professionals that specialize in postpartum care. They tend to mothers and newborns during the days following the birth. Postpartum nurses have the basic skills of any other specialty, but they also watch out for complications and emergencies. Postpartum nurses also help new mothers learn how to care for their infants and practice self-care during the postpartum process.
National average salary: $100,695 per year
Job outlook: 16% increase by 2024
Where Do Postpartum Nurses Work?
As you’d imagine, postpartum nurses work in the postpartum and maternity unit of hospitals. However, they can also find jobs in birthing centers. Clinics and private practices may also hire postpartum nurses on their staff. They often work alongside OBGYN doctors, labor and delivery nurses, nursery nurses, lactation consultants, and other specialized practitioners that handle mother/baby care.
What Kind of Patients Are in a Postpartum Care Unit?
The postpartum care unit receives healthy mothers and babies after delivery. They spend their time in this recovery unit until they’re discharged, usually one or four days later. This unit will not receive postpartum patients that need critical care or emergency care, as it’s not equipped to treat severe health complications.
What Does a Postpartum Nurse Do?
Postpartum nurses provide quality healthcare to mothers and newborns. They educate new moms on self-care practices and watch out for signs of postpartum depression. Postpartum nurses work in tandem with lactation consultants to assist with breastfeeding. A large part of their role is to provide physical and emotional support to the mom in any way needed.
Most responsibilities include:
- Assess and monitor the new mother to ensure proper recovery and healing
- Monitor the newborn baby
- Check and clean cesarean incisions if applicable
- Dispense medications as needed
- Educate new parents on infant care
- Help the new mother with the emotional aspects of birth and recovery
- Help the mother establish functional breastfeeding by collaborating with lactation specialists
How Do You Become a Postpartum Nurse?
Before you become a postpartum nurse, you first have to become a registered nurse by obtaining either an Associate’s Degree or a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. This will provide you the necessary education to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to become a registered nurse.
As a registered nurse, you can obtain work in various medical settings. Ideally, you’d want to find experience in the maternity unit of a hospital if you’re looking for a career in postpartum nursing. In addition, you should consider advancing your career by seeking specific certifications that relate to postpartum and maternity care.
- Maternal Newborn Nursing Certification
- Electronic Fetal Monitoring Certification
What Skills Do You Need to Be a Postpartum Unit Nurse?
Postpartum nursing involves a great deal of responsibility. These nurses often handle between three and six patients at a time; thus, organizational skills are critical. An eye for detail is also essential and extensive knowledge of mental health assessments to notice any signs of postpartum depression.
The most common skills of postpartum unit nurses include:
- Exceptional interpersonal communication skills
- Compassion and patience
- Teaching skills
- In-depth clinical and critical thinking skills
- Mental and emotional strength
- Assessment capabilities
- Ability to work well as part of a larger care team
Starting Your Postpartum Nursing Career
A career as a postpartum nurse is emotional, rewarding, and filled with opportunities. It’s important to maintain all certifications up-to-date and seek experience in maternity units to position yourself as the best-qualified candidate. If a nursing career in postpartum care interests you, these steps will help you set yourself as a great candidate.
At Stability Healthcare, we place nurses in hospitals across the United States, helping them find tremendous opportunities in various fields, including in the postpartum care unit. If you’re ready to kickstart your career, search for your next placement and set up an interview today.