What is a Labor and Delivery Nurse?

Labor and Delivery NurseA labor and delivery nurse is a specialized staff nurse who works with expectant mothers when they are in labor and also cares for newborn babies following delivery through the time that the family is discharged. Labor and Deliver Nurses, which are also called L&D specialists, play a critical role in caring for patients who are going through normal labors and those who need special attention and treatment during and after childbirth. Because they aide in bringing new life into the world, they must be extremely knowledgeable and highly trained to work in maternal care units and nurseries. Read on, and find out what L&D nurses do and how you might become one.

What Does an Labor & Delivery Nurse Do?

A Labor and Deliver Nurse is responsible for caring for patients when they are seeking treatment at a maternity ward of a hospital. They will monitor a patient’s status, check the baby’s heart rate, review the patient’s medical history, and provide a personalized care plan for the mother so that they are comfortable and cared for. They may assist in intake to help spot complications and also assist with preparation for delivery when childbirth is imminent.

During delivery, the L&D nurse will assist the doctor or the midwife to ensure the birth goes as smoothly as possible, according to the Houston Chronicle. They will guide the baby’s head and clean out the eyes and mouth immediately following birth. In the event of a C-section, the L&D nurse will assist the surgeon by handling instruments and providing postpartum care. These nurses also transport babies to the nursery unit where they care for newborns and perform tests.

Demand for Labor & Delivery Nurses

If you would like to pursue a professional in this specialty area of nursing, you may want to first consider if there is a demand for professionals. While there are several different nursing specialties where demand is high, labor and delivery is a specialty that experts forecast will have the brightest outlook,  according to Healthcare Traveler. This is because there are not enough graduates to fill in the demand, but it is important to recognize that demand is concentrated in specific areas of the nation.

How to Become a Nurse in Labor and Delivery

If you would like to work in labor and delivery and you are willing to seek a position in an area where the demand is high, it is time to learn how to become a specialist. You will need to start by completing a formal degree program and by passing the national licensure exam like all other Registered Nurses do.

After becoming an RN, you must get experience in relevant areas like family planning clinics, physicians’ offices, maternal care units or birthing centers. Once you have experience as a staff nurse, you can pursue certification to become a specialist. The Registered Nurse Certified designation will show that you have taken classes and have the appropriate work experience to work in this specialty area.

Related Resource: Triage Nurse

Labor and Delivery is a very fast-paced and structured environment to work in. While there are joyous moments, you must also be willing to delivery with emergencies in a calm and effective manner. Train to become a labor and delivery nurse and work in a fulfilling specialty area where you can enjoy what you do.