Being a labor and delivery room nurse requires being with a mother-to-be from the start of her labor and staying with her and the new child until after the birth. They will then care for the two of them in the delivery room through their hospital stay until they are ready to go home. Labor and delivery nurses also stay with pregnant women that may be experiencing complications and are made to extend their hospital stay longer for care or observation. They will communicate pertinent information to the soon-to-be mother and other family members and are a great resource for mothers who may experience post-partum depression. Complications can always arise but the goal of the labor and delivery nurse is to ensure a stress-free and naturally safe delivery whenever possible. Although working in a delivery room can be fast paced and comes with a certain amount of high-pressure situations, it is overshadowed by the joy of bringing a new life into this world.
To become a labor and delivery nurse you must first be a registered nurse or RN. A RN is one that has completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). This is a four year program that involves both classroom education and hands on practice in the field. Once you have the degree you will need to get certified as an RN by passing the national RN exam. To successfully be a labor and delivery nurse you must gain specialized experience in the field. There are several programs offered both at schools and online that are available to help prepare you for the unexpected challenges of being a labor and delivery nurse, but nothing beats hands-on experience. Once you have proven yourself to be a valuable part of the labor and delivery teams you will probably be asked to attended seminars to stay current on the new technologies. Most labor and delivery nurses are also trained in neonatal resuscitation as well to always be able to assist in an emergency situation.
Nursing demands in the US are quite high and labor and delivery nurse salaries can be quite competitive. There is a big range in the current salaries of labor and delivery nurses with a low end of approximately $40,000 annually to a high of about $90,000 annually. Salaries are dependent on several factors like experience in the field, the state where you work, and the resources available at that institution. Because you cannot obtain a specialized certificate, years of experience is what can really make the difference in earning the highest salary.
Deciding to become a labor and delivery nurse can be very rewarding but it also is a great place to prepare for further advanced careers within nursing. Once you have mastered the challenging aspects of the job you can choose from several different career paths like being an obstetrician, neonatal ICU nurse or a certified nurse-midwife. Having experience in the delivery room is the first step in pursuing another related specialty. Depending on what you do or don’t like about being a labor and delivery nurse you could choose to advance to a pediatrician and work with older children.
The delivery room can truly be a magical place. Imagine the feeling, the sight of a brand new life taking their first breath, a new life beginning right before your eyes. For many women having a child can be a scary, stressful and yet amazing experience. Often the people that are surrounding the new mother bring encouragement but it’s the labor and delivery nurse who guides her through the process. If you have a great desire to be a part of something magical, be a friend and yet a professional mentor at the same time, a labor and delivery nurse might be the perfect job for you.