Labor and delivery can be a very stressful time for a mother. Between the pain, sticking with their solidified birthing plan, and sometimes making quick decisions during unforeseen circumstances, this time can be very harrowing. Luckily, labor and delivery nurses are there to help new mothers before, during, and after the baby is born. As soon as a mother is admitted to the hospital, right up until she’s discharged, a labor and delivery nurse will be there to help.
Labor and delivery nurses provide support and guidance to these new mothers by:
- Monitoring a patient’s pain levels
- Providing birthing treatment plans
- Offering advice on newborn care and pain management
- Giving support and encouragement during the labor process
Along with supporting mothers, labor and delivery nurses also support the OBGYN by:
- Monitoring patient vials
- Providing medication
- Helping to induce labor
- Keeping the doctors updated throughout the delivery process
How Do You Become a Labor and Delivery Nurse?
Becoming a labor and delivery nurse typically requires a combination of education, training, and certification.
Education: First, you need to take the necessary steps to becoming a registered nurse. To become a registered nurse (RN) you first need to obtain an Associates of Science in Nursing (ASN) or a Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN).
Training: Many hospitals offer on-the-job training for nurses who wish to specialize in labor and delivery. This training may include classroom instruction and hands-on experience working with patients. To try and stay ahead of the game, it’s important to try and get extra training in your speciality while you’re still in school.
Certification: After receiving your ASN or BSN, you’ll then need to pass the NCLEX to receive your nursing license. The National Certification Corporation (NCC) also offers a certification for labor and delivery nurses, known as the RNC-OB (Registered Nurse-Certified in Obstetrics). This certification is not mandatory but it is highly recommended as it validates the knowledge, skills and experience of the nurse in providing care to mothers and their infants.
Where Can a Labor and Delivery Nurse Work?
- Hospitals – the most common place for a new mother to give birth is typically in a hospital. Nurses that work in a hospital will help a mother in the maternity ward from the time she’s admitted until she’s discharged. Most hospitals also offer specialized training.
- Birthing centers – some cities have birthing centers as an alternative to hospitals. The workers in these facilities are typically midwives, but an RN’s skills would also apply.
- Patients’ Home – some people prefer to give birth in the comfort of their own home. A labor and delivery nurse can act as a midwife in assisting the mother during the labor process.
Being a labor and delivery nurse is no easy task. You’re in charge of the emotional and physical well being of a mother while she’s in labor. Clinical experience, good communication skills, the ability to stay calm under pressure, and a compassionate and empathetic nature are all important qualities for a labor and delivery nurse to possess.