The labor & delivery nurse is a sought after position for many nurses. In many hospital settings, the mother in labor will have one nurse who remains throughout the labor and delivery process. Childbirth can be stressful without adequate support from nursing staff and family. The labor & delivery nurse helps the mother and family through the sometimes-lengthy process.
Labor & Delivery Nurse Job Description & Scope of Practice
The labor & delivery nurse will usually be the nurse who takes the mother’s vital signs, performs the initial vaginal examination, time’s contractions and monitors the mother and fetus’ vital signs throughout the labor.
The labor & delivery nurse will monitor the mother throughout the labor process providing information, support and direction in breathing and relaxation techniques as necessary.
In many hospitals, the OB/GYN nurse will prep the mother for delivery and accompany her into the delivery room. Smaller hospitals may have the OB nurse assisting in the delivery of the infant and even performing the Apgar tests and moving the baby to the nursery.
This is a position that is well paid and has a high level of satisfaction for the nurse who chooses to pursue a career in delivery room and labor. The nursing professional must have a solid knowledge of delivery, signs of complication and sterile techniques, postpartum care and newborn nursery procedure.
How to Become a Labor & Delivery Nurse
Because, the labor & delivery nurse position is well paid and highly sought after, the higher the educational achievements of the nurse applying, the better the prospects for the nurse are in landing a job. The RN with a Bachelor degree may receive more consideration for the job when positions become open in the labor and delivery room. Nurses wishing to specialize in labor and delivery or switch focuses may wish to take continuing education courses to help bolster their resumes and experience in labor & delivery.
An RN with an associate degree may find it helpful to transition to an accelerated nursing program and achieve their BSN to become a labor & delivery nurse.
Labor & Delivery Nurse Education Requirements, Certification, and Schooling Programs
- Successfully complete an Associate or Bachelor of Science in Nursing from an accredited nursing program.
- During nursing school, the aspiring labor room nurse should take electives in maternal care, labor and delivery or plan on taking further courses after graduation to prepare for this career.
- Successfully take the licensing examination for RNs called the NCLEX-RN. Nurses returning for a Master Degree can elect to specialize in OBGYN care.
- Currently there is no certification in place for Labor and Delivery Nurses. However, people wishing to obtain certification and further their careers in the field of labor and delivery might consider obtaining certification as a neonatal nurse or as a Certified Nurse Midwife. The Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) guides, trains and educates nurses in the labor and delivery field.
Labor & Delivery Nurse Salary and Career Outlook
Jobs for Registered and Licensed nurses are projected to grow at the rate of 21% -23% through the year 2018. The average salary of a labor & delivery nurse is $75,000 per year. Nurses with advanced degrees in maternal care will usually earn more than a nurse with only an RN education.