questions about being L&D nurse--Please reply!!

  1. I will be starting my 2 year RN program in August and would like to find out more about the actual working environment. I had 2 babies within the past 2 years and know the patient's view, so I would like more input from the nurses side.
    First of all, is there a lifting requirement? (I know hospitals vary) What kind of shifts do you all work? I know here the classifieds advertise 7-7 shifts, is this pretty standard. What is the average starting pay for new grads. Also, how are new grads and nurses in general treated by fellow nurses and doctors.

    I appreciate your input.
    thanks
    Wendy
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  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   Q.
    The working environment is pretty comparable to most other units - I can tell you that some of the obstetricians are very "suspicious" at best of new nurses, be them new grads or old nurses new to Labor and Delivery. The obstetricians rely on your vaginal exams to be accurate, your interpretatin of electronic fetal monitoring to be top notch, and your opinion of what's happening, be it subtle, subtle, changes in heart rate patterns, etc.

    They are not there much and need you to tell them if you think the patient needs pitocin, magnesium sulfate, and a whole slew of other drugs we give regularly. So...as a new nurse, you may find that until these obstetricians get familiar with your knowledge and comfort level, that they may want to talk to your preceptor as well, or come in more often to verify your findings, or request another nurse to double check you. I didn't really mind it because actually, I didn't have much experience and the MDs can sense my apprehension.

    I can tell you that the orientation was highly intense and I often left work with a migraine, but after a while, you get more and more comfortable. One misnomer that Labor and Delivery carries is that it is all fun and nice, and that the nurses stand around, give pain medication and yell "push." When new nurses enter this area with this attitude, they often leave before orientation is up, especially after a crash C-section, or a fetal demise, or a very high risk delivery and a physician yelling at you to pull the legs back further and apply fundal pressure a certain way....so be prepared for things like this.

    L&D is a very rewarding area to work but requires alot of technical skill and for you to be confident in yourself.

    There isn't a lifting requirement, other than being able to lift some pretty heavy, numb legs waaaayyy back, roll patients, transfer them quickly to the OR table, etc. The starting pay is about what other new grads make, although alot of L&D nurses are fighting for a critical care differential - and working shifts are the same as well - some 12's, some 8's, and my hospital even does 4 hour shifts.

    [ May 07, 2001: Message edited by: Susy K ]
  4. by   JennieBSN
    Originally posted by Susy K:
    <STRONG>One misnomer that Labor and Delivery carries is that it is all fun and nice, and that the nurses stand around, give pain medication and yell "push." When new nurses enter this area with this attitude, they often leave before orientation is up, especially after a crash C-section, or a fetal demise, or a very high risk delivery and a physician yelling at you to pull the legs back further and apply fundal pressure a certain way....so be prepared for things like this. ]</STRONG>
    Couldn't have said it better myself, Susy. Your whole post was DEAD ON, but I particularly appreciated this part.

    Nothing grates my nerves more than to hear someone gush, 'oooo!! Your job must be so much FUN!' I have to FIGHT to keep back the claws and litany of swearing I feel compelled to unload on them. Nothing gives me greater satisfaction in this arena than to see some jerk-off nurse who bad mouths L&D nurses all the time for being lazy and 'primadonnas' to come back for a delivery or two and get a BIIIIIIIIIG dose of REALITY. The wide eyed, terrified, oh-sh**-this-isn't-all-fun-and-games look on their faces says it all.

    L&D is a great job. I love it. HOWEVER, it is hard, hard work, so please don't go into it thinking it's all warm and fuzzy all the time. You will sweat, run, bend, lift, pull, push, jump on flying beds, and deal with some pretty adrenaline pumping stuff on a regular basis. Of course, nursing is physically trying in and of itself, but L&D, like most critical care areas, is an adrenaline jungle. As in critical care, the doctors, as Susy pointed out, rely HEAVILY on you once they trust you. You must have the ability to think on your feet, make snap medical judgements, and be physically and emotionally prepared for such an intense environment.

    It's a wild ride, but if you've got the guts and the desire, come check it out!! We'd love to have you.

    Oh, yes, and congratulations on starting school in the fall!! Welcome to nursing!
  5. by   kennedyj
    When it gets busy you kust hang on! No telling them wait or hold on. Usually patient care is designed for no more than 2 patients. Right! More to it than yelling push and giving pain meds. I have noticed hospitals that do not have residents - the nurses do everything. Check to see if pts are ruptures and decide to admit them, do most of the vag. exams. do basically everything until the doc comes in and catches the baby. But this depends on the skill of the nurse. I have (heard ) of nurses who have delivered over 15 babies. But once again depends on skill and if the doc is busy with other patients. I just became certified in OB ultrasounds. You skill is limitless and this is an area you can really push your knowledge. You will not get tired of it. I have seen 12 hr shifts at most places.

    It is an area you can definately learn. See if you can do an externship or independant study in this area. I did 2 in nursing school (1 in a city trauma center and 1 in L&D).
    good luck it is a great area.
    Jared

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