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What it like being an labor and delivery nurse ?

like what are the pros and cons of it

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Joelle’s Answer

Hi Lariah! I was a Labor and Delivery (L&D) Nurse for 1 year. I mostly worked in the PACU (Post Anesthesia Care Unit) after moms had c-sections, but I sometimes had to cover breaks on the L and D side, and my orientation included L&D. Here are the pros and cons (in my opinion).

Pros-
You get to see babies born. It never gets old. It literally is a miracle.
Your patients trust you, and value your expertise.
You work closest with providers and other team members like surgical technicians, and nurses aides.
Once you become experienced the providers really trust your knowledge.
It’s busy!!!!!
L and D is a speciality, and you will learn so much including med-surg, Operating Room nursing, emergency room nursing, PACU nursing, and mother baby nursing.
It will teach you different medications, how to give blood, and how to manage pain.
You will learn how to recognize emergencies
You get to hold babies! (my fav)
Teaches you how to multitask
Nurses usually choose to become L and D nurses, it doesn’t typically choose them (if that makes sense)
You learn about Women’s Health
You teach, A LOT
You assist in C-sections
You will learn and teach about breastfeeding, skin to skin, managing pain, looking out for blood loss
You will learn how to put in IVs, and draw bloods
You will learn how to read tracings
You can become a midwife
You can start your own business
Create courses for new mothers
You can be a great asset and help end material disparities among women of color. “Black women are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than White women,” (source CDC).


Cons-
It’s busy!!!!
Nurses are mean (in my opinion)
Like what Marisol said, you will experience death
Some mother’s also give their babies up for adoption (this is only a con because it can be very emotional and traumatic for all involved)
Teenage pregnancy
Nurse bullying
It’s super busy depending on where you work
A lot to learn
Can be overwhelming if you are a new grad
Providers can be mean as well

It can be difficult to transfer to another department, but with the nursing shortage I don’t think it would be a problem.
All in all, if you want to become an L and D nurse, I would shadow a labor and delivery nurse OR work on a L and D floor as a certified nurse assistant (CNA), licensed practical nurse (LPN) or surgical tech to get your foot in the door and to see if you really like it. I think you will be great in whatever you choose! Best of luck!

Joelle

Joelle recommends the following next steps:

I would shadow a labor and delivery nurse OR work on a L and D floor as a certified nurse assistant (CNA), licensed practical nurse (LPN) or surgical tech to get your foot in the door and to see if you really like it
Check out this article I wrote:https://nursejournal.org/articles/advocating-for-patients-of-color-as-a-labor-and-delivery-nurse/
Check out this overview on Labor and Delivery Nurses:https://nursejournal.org/careers/labor-and-delivery-nurse/
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Marisol’s Answer

Hi lariah. I don’t work on a L&D unit but I have had experience working in postpartum which is what they call the unit after the baby is born. I know L & F can be pretty busy and sometimes she slow. You have to think not only about the baby but mom too. Mom/baby Centers are typically pretty rewarding to see a healthy baby go home with mom and dad. Sometimes you do have very sad cases like the baby does not make it (still born, emergency) and the mom/dad are completely devastated and have to go home without a baby. Sometimes there is drugs involved and the baby has to be taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to recover and maybe even grow some more. The baby can not go home with the mom due to drug use sometimes. As a nurse you will do a lot of educating your patient that can be fun too, like helping a mom put their baby to sleep, burp, change or breast feed a baby.
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