Labor and Delivery Nurse
Labor and delivery nurse offers assistance to women in childbirth. In addition, these specially trained registered nurses provide extensive care after delivery of the baby. Essentially, they also assist women who are diagnosed with illnesses that cause complications during pregnancy. During cesarean deliveries they are also responsible for assisting surgeons.
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). The basic requirement towards becoming a labor and delivery nurse is to complete a nursing education program that is approved by the commission of higher education. Earning a degree in nursing, Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), is the most common way to become an L&D nurse. Gaining an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) would also suffice the basic requisite.
- National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). After earning a nursing degree, a nurse must have a license to practice in his or her state. Having a Registered Nurse (RN) license from your state’s board of nursing would allow you to practice your chosen area. Hence, to next step to becoming an L&D nurse is to pass the NCLEX examination.
- Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN). Some employers may require nurses with units in Master’s degree or those who have completed the program with specialization in Labor and Delivery Nursing Course. Included in the program are the following: antepartum management, as well as postpartum and newborn care.
- Solid Clinical Experience. Most hospitals require nurses to have a good clinical experience before being trained as an L&D nurse. A general medical-surgical nursing background is a good foundation to specializing in the labor room.
After a couple of years practicing in the labor and delivery room, certification examinations may now be taken. These certifications/trainings should include these areas:
- Intrapartum Nursing
- Postpartum Nursing
- Fetal Monitoring
Those who have completed these certification requirements are entitled to use the RN,C designation.
Skills Required to Become a Labor and Delivery Nurse
- Exceptional critical-thinking skills. L&D nurses should be able to function well as the areas are assigned sometimes become stressful and fast-paced.
- Excellent decision-making skills. These trained professionals must possess the ability to properly prioritized patients based on their needs.
- Impressive communication Skills. The work inside the delivery room requires collaboration to other members of the health care team such as doctors, surgeons, midwives and other nurses. Hence, to become a labor and delivery nurse one must own an exceptional communication skill. Patients and their families need constant update on the progress of the labor. Sometimes significant others become so anxious; they tend to ask questions repeatedly and authoritatively. Hence, nurses must know how to deal with highly-anxious individuals and communicate the progress to them gently.
Roles and Responsibilities of a Labor and Delivery Nurse
Working as a Labor and Delivery nurse would mean interacting and caring to pregnant women, or those having complications during pregnancy. Newborn care is also expected from them. Listed below are the key roles and functions of an L&D nurse:
- Educates the pregnant woman and family on what to expect during pregnancy, labor and delivery.
- Monitor fetal heart rate and maternal blood pressure.
- Assesses and documents the time, duration, frequency and intensity of contractions.
- Provide psychosocial support the mother.
- Keep the patient and family informed on the progress of labor and delivery and provide health teaching relevant to issues raised.
- Coach a woman to perform deep breathing techniques and exercises during labor. It is also the L&D’s responsibility to guide the woman in labor when to push.
- Educate new mothers on how to care for their newborns.
- Provide health teaching on women’s health issues.
- Administer pain medication per doctor’s order.
- Assists physicians during Cesarean Section delivery, performing epidural and episiotomies.
- Administer Pitocin by incorporating the medicine to IV infusion to stimulate contractions before delivery and shorten the process of labor.
- Provide postpartum care on the mother and the newborn.
- Educate mother about breastfeeding and personal care after delivery of the baby.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of care implemented and make some modifications to meet the changing needs of the newborn, mother and the family.
Salary of an L&D Nurse
Based on the data given by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, RN’s specialized in the labor and delivery room earns a median annual wage of $41,400 and the hourly rate of $18.88. The gamut of earning (median annual wage) is between $40,000 to $50,000.
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