Under the direction of a nurse midwife or doctor, a labor and delivery (L&D) nurse assists patients before, during, and after childbirth. They also take care of newborns right after delivery. These registered nurses (RNs) frequently work in maternity units, birthing suites, and hospitals.
Nurses who work in labor and delivery need to be excellent communicators and teachers. They are excellent at offering consoling services to assist new parents in navigating the labor and delivery process.
Discover more about the training requirements, job duties, and locations for L&D nurses.
What Does a Labor and Delivery Nurse Do?
Obstetricians, midwives, expectant parents, and newborns are supported by labor and delivery (L&D) nurses, who are qualified medical professionals. A labor and delivery nurse can give medication, educate patients, and keep track of a patient’s vital signs both during labor and after delivery.
The duties of labor and delivery nurses are extensive. They frequently provide care for several patients who are pregnant, in labor, or have recently given birth at once. More hands-on time than any other medical professional is frequently spent with a laboring patient by labor and delivery nurses, who play a critical role on the childbirth care team. They have received training in keeping an eye on both the mother and the infant and spotting potential issues that could arise during or after childbirth.
L&D nurses provide assistance during both vaginal and c-section deliveries. Depending on the hospital, labor and delivery nurses may also offer postpartum or newborn care. In addition to clinical labor and delivery nurse responsibilities, they often act as labor coaches, providing hands-on support and pain management techniques for a laboring patient.
Labor and delivery nurses are specialists in newborn, postpartum, and pregnancy care. They often teach classes for hospitals or community organizations on childbirth or parenting skills.
- Care for the patient and infant throughout labor, birth, and immediate postpartum phase
- Provide psychological and emotional support
- Monitor the patient and newborn’s condition and escalate treatment as necessary
- Communication with patients and other caregivers
- Ability to make quick decisions
You should have the quick thinking and decision-making skills necessary for a labor and delivery nurse to function effectively. Although the pace of active labor varies, your patient’s outcome may depend greatly on your ability to act quickly.
As an L&D Nurse, you have two patients under your care and supervision, the mother and her child. L&D nurses frequently spend a lot of time with patients and their families because each patient’s labor and delivery will be different in length. Being as composed, collected, and compassionate as you can is crucial given this and the stressful nature of childbirth. In order to effectively communicate with your patient and ensure the safety of both mother and child, you should be able to build trust right away.
Having a predetermined structure to rely on during stressful situations, such as labor and delivery, enables you to be more attentive and adaptable to the situation at hand and enables all healthcare professionals to prioritize and address the health and safety of their patients.
Every labor and delivery process is unique, so any L&D nurse must possess adaptability and initiative. It’s important to get as much varied experience as possible from the start, as it’ll allow you to hone your skills in communication, delivery assistance and neonatal care.
Where Do Labor and Delivery Nurses Work?
The majority of labor and delivery nurses work in hospitals’ maternity wards, delivery rooms, and birthing facilities. They can help patients during home births as well.
helping and reassuring the patient, keeping track of the progress of the labor, enlisting the help of specialists, or otherwise escalating care as necessary.
monitoring vital signs, providing care for patients and newborns, and instructing parents on infant care.
helping with labor and delivery, keeping an eye on the patient’s health and vital signs, referring them to a hospital if necessary, and taking care of the patient’s newborn during the first few weeks after giving birth.
How Do You Become a Labor and Delivery Nurse?
A Bachelor’s in Science of Nursing (BSN) or Associates Degree in Nursing (ADN) from an accredited program is required to work as a labor and delivery nurse. As with most professions, a higher degree of education provides a competitive edge when being assessed by potential employers, so earning a BSN is highly recommended.
Similar to other nursing professions, any aspiring L&D Nurse must first work as a registered nurse for at least one year before pursuing a more specialized focus. Many employers at this time insist that prospective L&D nurses work as postpartum nurses in order to give them a foundational understanding of the abilities and responsibilities of the larger role.
Additionally, all L&D nurses are required to hold certifications in Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) so they can support doctors during potentially life-threatening emergencies that may arise during childbirth.
What Makes a Good Labor and Delivery Nurse?
Some of the most enduring healthcare professionals are nurses who assist with deliveries. Nearly all parents can recall the nurse who attended their delivery. You have the chance to have a lasting impact on a family at one of the most significant times in their lives as a labor and delivery nurse.
Some qualities that help make a good labor and delivery nurse include:
- Patience: Nurses who assist with labor and delivery work closely with patients during trying times. You might be supporting a pregnant woman through the difficult transitional contractions, comforting a family during an unanticipated c-section, or helping at a premature birth. In order to function in highly emotional situations, labor and delivery nurses need patience.
- Adaptability: It’s unpredictable how a woman will give birth. You may need to act quickly to adjust to changes in your plans and make important choices. Labor and delivery nurses deal with a wide range of people from various ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, and circumstances. They frequently take care of multiple patients at once.
- Empathy: The ability to establish trust with patients is crucial because labor and delivery nurses frequently serve as emotional support and labor coaches.
- Respect: Even though you may not share their cultural, religious, or personal beliefs regarding childbirth, you still need to give them high-quality care and patient education.
- Love for learning: Labor and delivery often requires ongoing education and certification. You can enroll in specialized courses in fetal monitoring, pain management, breastfeeding support, managing preterm labor, and more.
The best labor and delivery (L&D) nurses are those who can communicate effectively, clearly, and with care. As an L&D nurse, you should feel at ease handling a wide range of emotions, answering inquiries, adjusting to emotional and medical challenges, and taking a proactive approach to care.
How much does a Delivery Nurse make?
Labor and Delivery (L&D) nurses can expect to make an average salary of about $63k by the year 2020, with a typical range of $45k to $88k.
How long does it take to become a labor and delivery nurse?
Earning an ADN and the necessary certifications to become a L&D nurse takes at least two years. However, earning four-year BSN results in higher salaries and more career advancement opportunities.