If you feel compelled to help women through the labor and delivery process, and are looking for a rewarding and challenging career, you may want to train to be a labor and delivery nurse. Labor and delivery nurses have the opportunity to help women through a very special time – as they are bringing new life into the world.
Labor and delivery nurses care for women and their infants during labor and childbirth. They are responsible for assisting, supporting and educating women during the four stages of delivery: antepartum, intrapartum, postpartum and neonatal.
Specific labor and delivery nurse job duties include:
In most cases, qualifying for nursing jobs requires graduation from an accredited school of nursing and state-required licensure. Labor and delivery nurses are typically required to have advanced nursing skills and experience to provide professional and technical care to patients. When hiring for specializations, employers may prefer to hire candidates with advanced education, such as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.
Some labor and delivery nurses begin their careers as registered nurses (RNs). Then, they can transition to labor and delivery nurse interns before moving to a full-time labor and delivery nurse. With additional education, others may pursue a career as a nurse practitioner specializing in obstetrics and gynecology, or a certified nurse midwife (CNM). Nurses with labor and delivery experience may have opportunities to pursue additional career opportunities such as becoming a lactation consultant or perinatal educator.
To ensure a safe and healthy delivery, labor and delivery nurses should display good judgment, pay attention to details, possess the ability to make quick decisions and be able to work well with others. Good communication skills are also an important part of their job responsibilities, as they are typically in charge of providing education to new parents.
Labor and delivery nurse salaries are comparable with other nursing specialties. In May 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported an average salary of $67,490 for registered nurses. Salaries ranged from a low of about $46,360 to over $101,630 annually and vary according to location, work experience, employer and specific nursing role.
The BLS projected employment of registered nurses to grow 16% through 2024, faster than the national average for other occupations. Job growth may also be influenced by an aging population and a higher demand for healthcare services.
Because salary potential and job opportunities may vary according to geographical location, experience, education and other factors, prospective students are encouraged to conduct independent research to determine actual earning and employment potential.
Labor and delivery nurses are generally employed by hospitals, clinics and physicians’ offices, as well as maternity and birthing centers. The environment is fast-paced and multifaceted, with conditions and duties that can change quickly throughout a shift. Labor and delivery nurses may work rotating shifts, nights, weekends and holidays.
As a labor and delivery nurse, you may find that there is no such thing as a “typical” day. Each shift is different, and can be both exciting and rewarding. If you have the desire to help people and an interest in advancing in your nursing career, now can be the time to get the education and experience that can help you reach your goal.