Nursing is a diverse field. It is safe to say that nurses have as diverse areas to choose from as doctors do.
This is so because both nurses and doctors take critical roles in the different phases and health concerns of humans.
While there are doctors who specialize in obstetrics, there will also be nurses who focus on this aspect of human health care.
One speciality well overview is how to become a labor and delivery nurse (LDN) one who assist pregnant women in the final stage of pregnancy and provide care for their newborns.
An LDN has trained and has experience in the various aspects of labor and delivery.
To become one, there are basic requirements. If you are interested in helping women in this important event in their lives, easing their pain and witnessing the birth of a child, this could be a career for you.
It is best to inquire from your state’s nursing board about the requirements for becoming an LDN. Board policies will vary from state to state. Inquire also about the accredited and approved programs and schools.
1. Complete the basic education required
If you decide to take the LPN route, you have to complete the diploma program in community colleges or health career centers.
An LPN program usually takes a year or two to complete. The program usually includes basic knowledge and principles of nursing, and skills training for the various tasks that being an LPN will require.
When referring to your program counselor, you may also inquire if the program and the school are accredited with other colleges or universities in the event that you would like to pursue higher levels of education.
The LPN program is usually a basis for waiving the prerequisites, or a portion of the prerequisites, in an ADN or BSN degree.
You may also want to be a RN right away. If this will be your preferred route, you may:
a. Take an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) from a community college.
The prerequisites are not part of the nursing curriculum but you must perform well in these courses.
These are usually the bases for admission to ADN. Ask the college counselor how soon you can start with the program.
The core nursing courses will include human anatomy, pharmacology, chemistry, biology, physiology, nutrition, microbiology, psychology, and liberal arts courses.
It will be to your advantage to take electives in classes, such as, maternity care, labor and delivery, and the like.
While an ADN is the fastest way to be a registered nurse, be aware that an LPN’s role in the labor and delivery department will be very limited, and may not be as rewarding as you would want it to be.
b. The most ideal educational background is bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN).
It will not only allow entry to the profession of RNs, but it will also be an opportunity for more challenging professional responsibilities, higher salaries and better opportunities for growth.
It is also being anticipated that, in the objective of raising the standards of the profession, only graduates of BSN will be allowed to take the licensure to be an RN several years from now. If you take this route now, you will undoubtedly be a step ahead.
The BSN coursework will have similar core subjects as that with the ADN, but with increased depth and with added courses on leadership, humanities, higher nursing concepts, and longer clinical exposure.
Take electives on labor and delivery, newborn care, and maternal care.
2. Undergo clinical internship
The above programs require nursing students to undergo internship training in order to graduate.
This will allow you to practice what you have learned in nursing school.
You will then be working with actual patients under the direct and close supervision of a trained expert in the field of your choice.
Opt for clinicals in the Obstetrics and Gynaecology department.
3. Obtain your license
After completing the LPN program, take the NCLEX – Practical Nurse exam, and obtain your license. Your best resource here will be your state’s board of nursing.
If you have completed an ADN or BSN degree, you have to take and pass the NCLEX-Registered Nurse.
4. Find work
Find a job as an LPN or RN, as the case may be.
While working as staff nurse, you will gain the necessary experience and training that will prepare you for your goal of becoming an LDN.
Most states will have specified number of years working as a nurse before you qualify to train in the labor and delivery department.
You may also take special classes relevant to that particular area. If it is possible for you to work in the labor and delivery department, do so.
5. Keep yourself updated
Most hospitals now require LDNs to obtain certifications in Basic Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, and Neonatal Resuscitation. Relax, all these can be obtained either through on-line or classroom courses.
6. Acquire certification
Some states and hospitals will require a certification from the National Certification Corporation, although some will not.
7. Apply for a labor and delivery nurse position
Labor and delivery nurses are in high demand; if you have completed all the steps, it is highly possible that the hospital where you are working will be first to hire you or assign you in an LDN position.
If not, take time to submit an application letter and a resume, or update your personnel file with the Human Resource Officer.
Roles and responsibilities
Most LDNs work as staff nurses in hospitals or clinics with varying levels of responsibilities. In general, an LDN performs the following routine:
- Prepare would-be mothers
- Take vital signs
- Assist the doctor
- Monitor contractions
- Administer medications and epidurals
- Assist in inducing labor
- Provide post-partum care
- Provide neonatal care
- Maintain medical records
- RNs are highly-trained aides in operating rooms and nurseries.
LPNs are good in organizing charts. They are also able to assist in admissions and discharges, or extend technical assistance in vaginal deliveries or Caesarean sections.
Areas of advancement
BSN graduates seeking to advance their career or raise their level of specialization in labor and delivery may want to pursue post-baccalaureate residency programs.
These are usually available in medical centers and hospitals.
If you think that the path leading to a career in labour and delivery is backbreaking, think again.
The job itself is backbreaking. More often than not, your shifts will be extended and you will always be on call.
It could get stressful, fast-paced, and intense; but it could also be one of the most rewarding.
I hope this explains the steps about how to be a labor and delivery nurse.