Becoming a Labor and Delivery Nurse – Duties and Responsibilities
Labor and delivery nurses are responsible for providing care for women and their newborn infants all throughout the birthing process, from assisting to educating women in the different stages of delivery. During labor, L&D nurses provide support, monitor the situation, and check the mother’s vital signs. They are also responsible for measuring the timing of contractions as well as the strength. Labor and delivery nurses also handle and administer medications and may record diagnostic tests.
With newborn infants, L&D nurses monitor and conduct certain tests on the babies. In addition, they educate and assist women after they have given birth. Labor and delivery nurses provide much-needed assistance during the antepartum, neonatal, intrapartum, and postpartum stages of birthing a baby. An L&D nurse is one just one of the many different types of nurses that LPNs, Registered Nurses, and Nurse Practitioners specialize in.
Education for L&D Nurses
For those who do not have a bachelor’s degree in nursing, the best and fastest way to become an L&D nurse is through one of the many LPN programs. With an LPN program, you can finish in one year. This program is offered by community colleges and technical schools. On the other hand, if you want to become a registered nurse, which is generally required for being an LDN, you can finish an associate’s degree in a community college or a four-year bachelor’s degree in a university. Nursing programs usually have similar coursework.
All programs include theory classes, clinical experience, and skills training. Apart from the basic courses, RN programs also include English and math. If you want to become a certified nurse midwife, you need to obtain a nursing and midwifery education. Before you can be admitted to this type of graduate program, you need to finish a bachelor course and gain nursing experience as labor and delivery nurse.
Training for Labor & Delivery Nurses
When it comes to training, almost all nursing programs offer classes and clinical experience when it comes to child and maternal health. But for actual work, licensed practical nurses and registered nurses acquire more skills in L&D when they are already on the job. Labor and delivery nurse departments want to have nurses that have experience. But there are also facilities and hospitals that accept fresh graduates with either certification or an actual degree to work in this department and gain on-the-job training to become an L&D nurse.
Certification for Labor & Delivery Nurses
Having a bachelor’s degree or finishing any nursing education program is not enough. You need to pass and acquire a license before you can apply as a licensed practical nurse or a registered nurse. All students who aspire to become L&D nurses should pass the exam administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. You cannot get a license without passing this exam. Those who want to become clinical nurse specialists should be licensed as registered nurses before they can enter the graduate program. Then, they have to pass the American Midwifery Certification Exam.
Skills and Qualities Needed by L&D Nurses
To become an effective labor and delivery nurse, you need to have certain set of skills. You have to be effective at communicating and adept at critical thinking. It’s also very important to be familiar with technology. Nurses should know how to use equipment and tools to provide quality care and treatment to patients. You should have compassion when handling patients.
In deciding to become a labor and delivery nurse, you have opportunities. Those who have a background in labor and delivery get to have other roles. For instance, they can work as clinical nurse specialists, midwives, lactation consultants, and perinatal educators.
Earnings of a Labor & Delivery Nurse
Based on the yearly median salary for licensed practical nurses from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average LPN Salary is about $47,920. The salaries of labor and delivery nurses have a median rate amounting to $66,220. This figure is on par with other nursing specializations. As for nurse midwives, they can earn an annual median salary amounting to $92,290.
Requirements for Aspiring L&D Nurses
Before you can become a labor and delivery nurse, you need to have the education and training to advance your career. But before you do that, you need to know what a labor and delivery nurse does. They work and interact with patients and families to ensure that women and their newborn babies are given quality care and health assistance. If you want to be in this unit, you may be required to spend long hours standing, as there is a need to move patients.
Labor & Delivery nurses need to finish their education program, obtain a license, and get a certification. Those who want to become an L&D nurse can choose to have an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or undergo an LPN program. Most hospitals will take you on and help you specialize in this field while working. Once you finish your educational program, you require a license. You also have to earn certification to gain experience. Some hospitals require previous experience in this department. A labor and delivery nurse also needs to possess computer and technical skills to be efficient in the workplace.
If you really want to become a labor and delivery nurse, you can apply tohospital labor facilities, maternity centers, delivery units, and the like.You also need to have neonatal resuscitation and fetal monitoring knowledge and training. Depending on the facility you are applying at, some may require you to have experience working as a staff nurse before you can become a labor and delivery nurse.
When you finally meet the required number of hours in this department, you can apply for specialty certification. You have to obtain the certification from the National Certification Corporation. Apart from this specialty, you may also want to get subspecialty certification in neonatal nursing, fetal monitoring, and maternal monitoring to ensure you’re performing your duties as a well-rounded, competent, and professional nurse.