Labor and Delivery Experience

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    Hi Ladies (and Gentlemen!)

    I know this issue has been previously addressed but I was wondering if anyone had any new insight... I always planned on gaining L&D experience before applying to a CNM program. I graduated from an accelerated nursing program in 2009, and not being able to get hired into L&D, I have spent the last several years gaining the "med-surg experience". I had another baby in between and now that things have settled down more after the maternity leave I feel ready to look for another job in L&D. I've applied to so many for the last several months and am now feeling discouraged again. I've heard through the grapevine that my hospital won't hire one of their own without L&D experience, and other hospitals have given me the impression that they won't hire someone without L&D experience who isn't one of their own. I really wanted to work in L&D before grad school but I don't want to spend years and years trying to get in and then more years gaining the experience to finally apply.

    Does anyone have any fresh perspective on this issue? I may just be seeing this through my discouraged lenses right now. I don't want to be impatient, but of course I am anxious finally get moving in the direction of my dream!
    tarapom likes this.
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  3. 6 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    Sorry I'm no help. I have been trying to get into L&D for the past two years since graduating. Not a single call. I decided to go ahead and apply to get my CNM. I know they don't care if you haven't had L&D nursing experience, but I care. I have been working in an SNF, so not even a hospital. So I am about to start in telemetry hoping that will open a door to eventually getting to L&D. And just in case, I picked up an internship at a local birthing center.
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    I have many years of non L&D experience also, and can not get a job in L&D. It is ironic that I can go to school to be a midwife faster than I can get a job in L&D.
    tarapom and bebbercorn like this.
  6. 3
    Hey there babylove2013!

    Now, I'm not a midwife yet, so feel free to take this with a grain of salt. I realized my calling to midwifery several years ago and immediately started on the path to CNM. I started working as a doula/childbirth educator and eventually attended an acclerated BSN. I passed the NCLEX this past August. I was open to working L&D, and had done my practicum on a maternity unit, but as a new grad, forget about it, no luck. Instead of throwing myself into the "obligatory" med-surg year, I've just applied to a miwifery program (Frontier). And I'd like to add that Ive not made this decision naively and without research or thought. Before even attending nursing school I spoke with over a half dozen CNMs. All but one said that working as a nurse was not necessary in order to be an excellent midwife. One was a Yale educated midwife who did a masters-entry program and went straight through - one year accelerated BSN and a two year Masters in Nurse Midwifery. Of course, she would be biased regarding that topic, but I'd argue that Yale does not make its educational decisions lightly, including its requirements for midwifery education. Another midwife had been a L&D nurse for 12 years before attending midwifery school and even she said "no, absolutely not." She went on to explain, "the role of an L&D nurse is completely different from a nurse midwife. It's a different kind of thinking and approach to care. Plus, there's a tendency as an OB nurse to become reliant on the technology, or fearful making independent decisions. You often have to unlearn things. That's not to say that the skills can't be valuable, but is it necessary? No." Additionally, in the British model, most midwives are "direct-entry" meaning that they are only trained in midwifery and not nursing. While I am certain that there are many valuable skills that you can and do learn as a nurse that can be translated to midwifery, I also firmly believe that it is possible to be a highly skilled midwife without ever being a nurse.

    In your case, you've already certainly gained valuable nursing experience. But do you need to continue to wade through years more of med-surg if you can't find L&D, I would say definitely not. Do you need that L&D experience to be a fantatsic midwife? Nope. Frontier, for example, only requires for one year of nursing (any area) or other childbirth related experience (doula/CBE/IBCLC, etc). I've heard the majority of their admitted students are from other areas of nursing, not L&D. So if it's your passion to be a midwife, don't let fear of inadequancy or lack of experience prevent you from going for it. Good luck!
    tarapom, mbrister, and queenanneslace like this.
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    This is what I have been told on here, everything you just said.However the two CNMs in my area told me that I needed to get an L&D job ASAP. One of them said that a girl in her classes in frontier had to wait a whole year to do clinicals because no midwives would take her without L&D experience. :-/
  8. 0
    Quote from SnowboardRN
    This is what I have been told on here, everything you just said.However the two CNMs in my area told me that I needed to get an L&D job ASAP. One of them said that a girl in her classes in frontier had to wait a whole year to do clinicals because no midwives would take her without L&D experience. :-/
    SnowboardRN - that was my one concern w regard to not doing L&D. I think it really depends on the size of the area you're in and also the common attitudes. I'm based in the Boston area and was told by Frontier's regional coordinator that I shouldn't have a problem. Also the sheer size of the midwifery population def increases the chances that ill find a midwife who is like the ones I interviewed. That's a bummer what those midwives told you. Are there other midwives in the area that you could talk to about it? Is it possible that their personal opinions were skewing their view of the situation? Also, maybe considering branching out further than you might have originally considered. Sometimes I wish I had done one of the masters entry programs so that I could have gone straight through without worrying about this!
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    I have friends who did the "direct-entry" MSN program for Nurse-Midwifery. After the accelerated RN portion, they had to get jobs in L&D during the Master's program... rather, it was *strongly recommended*. Some of these programs have ways of getting their CNM students into an L&D job. I do think L&D experience is valuable. Not necessary. But valuable. The more experience around childbirth you can get, the better. Any OOH birth centers that will take on an RN to observe/assist at births? That's another place to get some experience.
    Alikatz likes this.


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