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How to Become a Labor and Delivery Nurse: The Steps

Labor and Delivery Nurse

Many nursing fields exist in the nursing industry. One of the most rewarding fields in nursing is labor and delivery nursing. Labor and delivery nurses are in charge of caring for mothers and their newborn babies. They also play a critical role in helping pregnant women through the birthing experience. 

Furthermore, the job of labor and delivery nurses can be gratifying and harrowing. When the delivery outcome is positive, L&D nurses can rejoice with the patients and their families. But if the outcome is negative, their knowledge and resolute calm are critical.

Whatever the birthing outcome, labor and delivery nurses play a significant role in the birthing experience. This career path requires adequate preparation and commitment. Thus, you need to know the processes involved in becoming an L&D nurse. In this article, we'll be discussing all the information you need to become a labor and delivery nurse. 

Steps to Becoming a Labor and Delivery Nurse

Becoming a labor and delivery nurse requires extensive training, commitment, and education. If you want to pursue this path, consider the following steps:

Earn a Degree

The first thing you need to do before you can become an L&D nurse is to earn a degree. You need a become a registered nurse, and the only way you can do this is to earn a bachelor's or associate degree in nursing. Having either of these educational qualifications will make you more appealing to employers. 

Pass Your NCLEX-RN Exam

To become a licensed registered nurse, you must pass your NCLEX-RN exam. This step applies to most nurses hoping to work in the nursing industry. Passing the exam means you're capable of practicing nursing. 

Earn a Certification

Certifications help to improve your credentials as a registered nurse. Certifications required for L&D nurses include advanced cardiac life support (ACLS), essential life support(BLS), and inpatient obstetric nursing certifications(RNC-OB). These certifications show that you

  1. Know the proper techniques for resuscitation
  2. Can recognize the signs and symptoms of life-threatening diseases 
  3. Know the proper procedures for chest compressions
  4. Can operate a defibrillator and give ventilation
  5. Know updated methods of drug administration
  6. Can read an ECG machine

Becoming a certified labor and delivery nurse increases your value to employers and gives you an advantage in the job market. 

Get Advanced Education and Experience

You might need additional educational qualifications to specialize as a labor and delivery nurse. Earn a master's or DNP degree to advance your career in labor and delivery nursing. You can choose to be a general nurse practitioner in obstetrics and gynecology. In this role, you'll be required to handle high-risk patients and unusual complications and situations. 

If you're transitioning into labor and delivery nursing as an experienced nurse, you'll need at least one year of experience in bedside nursing. You might also be required to have experience in postpartum nursing before transitioning into L&D nursing. You can also apply to maternity centers, hospital L&D units, birthing centers, and clinics to gain adequate experience. 

Apply For L&D Jobs

Once you have gotten the experience, education, and certifications you need, the next step is to apply for jobs. While the nurse market is high, becoming a labor and delivery nurse is very competitive. The demanding and rewarding nature of the job has made employers seek top candidates. 

To make yourself relevant in the L&D job market, network with other nurses. A reference from a well-known doctor or nursing staff in the labor and delivery unit will help you immensely. Also, show that you are a team player. While gaining experience in the L&D unit, emphasize your team-playing ability. Join a nursing association. Becoming a member of a nursing association will give you access to labor and nursing specialty support. 

What are the Duties and Responsibilities of Labor and Delivery Nurses?

Labor and Delivery Nurse

Labor and delivery nurses work closely with gynecologists and obstetricians in the hospital. They work with other support staff to ensure mothers and their newborn babies have a safe experience. L&D nurses work with a few patients daily. The nurse-to-patient ratio is usually low for L&D nursing. Labor and delivery nurses also monitor their patient's progress and handle any new development. Below are some of the primary duties of L&D nurses

  • Help to administer epidural and medication
  • Monitors the mother and baby's vitals, including blood pressure and heart rate
  • Help to time contractions
  • Coach new mothers throughout the birthing process
  • Assist doctors with cesarean surgeries
  • Serve as liaison between patients and medical staff

The most important duty of a labor and delivery nurse is the ability to remain reassuring and calm no matter the situation. 

Salary Expectation for Labor and Delivery Nurses

The salary of labor and delivery nurses varies depending on the institution, location, education, and experience. The average salary of a labor and delivery nurse is $70 000 annually. A specialized labor and delivery nurse will typically earn more than this average.

What Is the Career Expectation for Labor and Delivery Nurses?

Nursing staff shortage is becoming rampant with so many nurses entering retirement age. In the best ten years, the demand for nurses will increase exponentially. Even as more mothers begin to experience natural and home births, the L&D field continues to grow. 

With an increase in the average age of new mothers, the demand for labor and delivery nurses will continue to grow. Thus, you are guaranteed job security if you pursue a career in labor and delivery nursing. Statistics predict that jobs in the L&D field will increase by 9% in the next eight years. 

Get Started

Labor and Delivery Nurse

Labor and delivery are physically and emotionally intense for any mother. Your role as a labor and delivery nurse will be to ensure that you respond to their emotions with compassion. You also must respond to their questions with an honest and calm attitude. 

Furthermore, becoming a labor and delivery nurse can be challenging. You have to be willing to put in the work and effort, so your patients are cared for in the best way. You also must be willing to adapt to any situation as no labor and delivery process stays the same. 

Hopefully, this article has shed light on how you can become a labor and delivery nurse. This career path is very fulfilling if you decide to pursue it.

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