Being a labor and delivery nurse is definitely one of the most exhilarating areas of nursing – you’re really caring for the whole family unit during this exciting time in their life. I have shared in times of great joy that come when a new life arrives into the world, and I have consoled mothers in times of loss, as a mother loses her child to miscarriage.
The labor and delivery nurse can include a vast array of roles – caring for a mother while she labors, assisting with the delivery (or sometimes delivering the baby yourself when the doctor doesn’t make it in time!), accompanying mom to the O.R. and circulating for an emergency cesarean section, caring for the newborn immediately after delivery, and caring for mom and baby postpartum. Roles are assigned differently at different facilities, depending on the staff and needs. Most hospitals are eager to train a new nurse, providing on-the-job training.
As a new L&D nurse, there are several educational courses that most facilities require as you begin working – fetal heart monitoring (introduction, intermediate, and advanced), NRP (neonatal resuscitation program), and breastfeeding. There are times I was strictly an L&D nurse, and other times I was a mother/baby nurse. Regardless of the specific area, my favorite part is comforting anxious new moms, teaching them all there is to know about caring for themselves and their new baby.