Labor and Delivery Nurses Bring Babies into the World
By Debra Wood, RN, AMH Contributor
Labor and delivery nurses help women with the birthing
process, before, during and after delivery. It can be an exciting and
high-stress environment due to the fact the outcome may not be as planned.
When a pregnant woman presents for care in an obstetrical
unit, the labor and delivery nurse will triage her to assess the woman and
fetus’s status. The Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal
Nurses (AWHONN) has developed the Maternal Fetal Triage Index
to provide a standardized approach to help nurses prioritize women who need
more immediate care from a provider. The tool takes into consideration maternal
vital signs, fetal heart rate, the woman’s status, and how far along in labor
she is, fetal movement, and the woman’s medical, obstetrical, prenatal and
Before delivery, a labor and delivery nurse will monitor the
woman and the fetal heart rate and stay alert for any rapid condition changes. The
early warning signs protocol requires the nurse take immediate
action when blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate or oxygen saturation
levels are outside of normal parameters. Other conditions, such as maternal agitation,
oliguria or a nonremitting headache in a patient with hypertension should be
rechecked within 10 minutes before calling the provider.
While many births progress smoothly, L&D nurses must watch
for complications, such as venous thromboembolism or pre-eclampsia. After
delivery, L&D nurses monitor the woman for hemorrhage or other
complications, and teach her about breastfeeding.
L&D nurses must be effective
communicators as they work as part of a team to ensure positive
outcomes for their patients. Structured communication tools, such as SBAR
(situation, background, assessment and recommendation) aid in the transfer of knowledge
about a change in condition.
The nurse also should possess good listening skills, and
provide direct and timely communication to the patient and her family. They
must emotionally support the patient and family, providing education about the
childbirth process and coaching during labor.
The patient remains at the center of care, with nurses
respecting her cultural and personal preferences for childbirth. Care decisions
should be shared between the woman and her care team.
Labor and delivery nurses also may assist during caesarean
Maternal and fetal complications and stillbirths are a
reality. L&D nursing is not always joyous, but compassionate L&D nurses
can help women and their families through difficult situations.
Certification Corporation offers certification for labor and
delivery nurses. Study guides are available. Certification demonstrates
competency in the nursing specialty and facilities often offer higher salaries
to nurses with certification.
Labor and delivery nurses earned an average of
$76,614 a year in 2018 while certified labor and delivery nurses
averaged $82,992 a year.
Accepting a travel
Travel nursing offers opportunities to see the country
without missing a paycheck. It appeals to nurses who want to check out
different facilities or geographic regions, without making a long-term
commitment. Hundreds of labor and delivery travel jobs exist.
Compensation is good. Travel nurses earn competitive
wages, free housing, partial reimbursements, and medical, dental and liability
Labor and delivery travel nurses should have at least one
year experience in labor and delivery, although, some hospitals require more
years on an L&D unit. The travel nurses should be able to walk onto the
unit ready to go to work.
may require Basic Life Support certification and Advance Cardiac
Life Support certification, fetal monitoring certification and Inpatient
Obstetric Nursing and Neonatal Resuscitation Program certifications. Even
when specific certifications are not required, it gives candidates a
Ready to Travel? Become a Labor and Delivery Travel Nurse
Labor and delivery nurses experience the joy of bringing a
new life into the world while helping the woman and her family through the
birthing process. Nurses who travel enjoy the opportunities to work and explore
different parts of the country at the same time. Contact American Mobile today
to find the ideal labor and delivery travel nurse job.