Any L&D nurses here?

  1. I am a nursing student interested in pursuing the L&D field. I have heard that most of the time L&D units like to hire nurses with a couple years(at least) experience in another field first. Is this true? What should I do to best work my way into that field?

    Another kinda odd question-- I am TERRIFIED of actually being handed the baby by the doc! On "A Baby Story" and those type shows it looks like the OB practically throws the baby into your arms!! What if I drop the baby? That would be awful!
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  2. 23 Comments

  3. by   SCRN1
    I was hired straight out of nursing school working in L&D and guess what? I wouldn't recommend anyone doing that. Oh, I thought that was what I would want to do the rest of my life. I'd already had two kids, so I did have an idea of what could go on and what could go wrong in a delivery room. I now wish I'd worked at least on a Med-Surg floor for at least a year first. I'm not saying that because of what I said I knew what could go wrong. It's just that I feel I missed out on really putting everything into practice I'd busted my butt to learn in school while my mind was still fresh. I later did go to Orthopedics and now Cardiology, but it was more difficult in these areas because so many things were hard to remember. I think if I'd worked in Med/Surg first, more things would have burned better into my memory. You learn so much more AFTER school while working as a nurse, but it still would've all come together much more easily (I think - others may disagree) had I established a better foundation right out of school. I do catch on pretty quick, so I have done pretty well in the other fields of nursing. But it would've been easier if I hadn't gone into a specialized field so soon.
  4. by   SCRN1
    Oh, and to answer your other question...yes, I was told when I was hired in that first job that they didn't usually hire new grads and I got lucky. Not!
  5. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Got into OB right out of school 9 years ago. No regrets and never have even come close to dropping a baby ever, even when I myself delivered them

    if this is a dream of yours, do what you can to get into nursing school and GO FOR IT! I have no regrets really. I still love caring for OB patients and babies.

    I am moving this thread to the OB forum, for more answers/participation or help for you. I hope you don't mind.

    Good luck and welcome to allnurses.com!
  6. by   klone
    I was hired to L&D directly out of school. I worked for a year as an extern during school, so I came on as a new grad pretty well trained.

    The doctor doesn't hand the baby to us, s/he places the baby on mom's chest, where we have a warmed blanket. We dry the baby briskly while s/he is lying on mom, so no need to hold a wet, slippery baby.
  7. by   kirsnikity
    I'm graduating this coming Wednesday and I start my first RN job in L&D in January. I've been working as an extern in an LDRP unit for almost a year now. L&D is why I went to nursing school...I love it. I'm going to work for a pretty progressive hospital and the attitude of the recruiter was if you know what your passion is, why waste time doing med-surg? Obviously, med-surg is a great place to hone a lot of skills, but it's not for everyone. If you truly get burnt out on your specialty, it is always possible to go back to M/S.

    Some hospitals want you to have experience...others are willing to train you from the ground up. I think my extern experience gave me an edge over other new grads.

    BTW, I've never dropped a baby either.
  8. by   flytern
    If you plan on diving straight into L&D, just remember, it's not only about giving birth. In today's society the "healthy" pregnant woman is a rarity. Most moms have other conditions that have to be attended to, hypertension, diabetes, cardiac, drug use.... So being a well rounded nurse is a a big plus. However, that's not to say that you can't learn that stuff on the floor.:spin:
  9. by   RNLaborNurse4U
    I went straight into L&D right out of school, 5 1/2 years ago, and do not regret it one bit!! I did a student nurse externship/OB tech position for the last 6 months of nursing school, before graduation, and switching to working as a new grad. Like a fellow poster above stated though, L&D is not all about labor and birth - pregnancy can have some really high risk concurrent medical conditions, or patients can have some very heavy duty serious medical problems going into the pregnancy. I have seen and cared for some very rare conditions, and I learn new things every day in L&D. Med/surg *might* have prepared me a little bit more with prioritization and time management, but you learn how to do that as you go in any specialty. M/S would have given me a stronger background also in medical diseases and disorders and management, however, pregnancy changes the management of almost all illnesses/diseases.

    Like I said, this is a field where I learn something new every day. I am grateful to also have such a fantastic supportive crew of RN's with a wealth of knowledge to add to my own knowledge base!
  10. by   flygirls2
    Quote from SCRN1
    I was hired straight out of nursing school working in L&D and guess what? I wouldn't recommend anyone doing that. Oh, I thought that was what I would want to do the rest of my life. I'd already had two kids, so I did have an idea of what could go on and what could go wrong in a delivery room. I now wish I'd worked at least on a Med-Surg floor for at least a year first. I'm not saying that because of what I said I knew what could go wrong. It's just that I feel I missed out on really putting everything into practice I'd busted my butt to learn in school while my mind was still fresh. I later did go to Orthopedics and now Cardiology, but it was more difficult in these areas because so many things were hard to remember. I think if I'd worked in Med/Surg first, more things would have burned better into my memory. You learn so much more AFTER school while working as a nurse, but it still would've all come together much more easily (I think - others may disagree) had I established a better foundation right out of school. I do catch on pretty quick, so I have done pretty well in the other fields of nursing. But it would've been easier if I hadn't gone into a specialized field so soon.
    Thanks for the info. Are you saying that it was hard going into L&D so early--and you would rather have practiced the various skills first? Or that L&D didn't involve many nursing skills that you wish you could have practiced to gain experience?
  11. by   flygirls2
    Where do you find the 'externship' programs? That would be a great opportunity. One hospital in my area offers a 3 month internship program for new grads, but you have to be a current RN. I am hoping to do that, but my husband is military--so there's no telling if we'll still be in town by then.

    Flytern--I know and completely agree that a totally healthy pregnancy is a rarity these days. I don't expect it to be all 'butterflies and rainbows" at all. I have a one year old daughter, and while I was pregnant with her I found a passion. I literally went to EVERY library in town and read EVERY pregnancy book on the market. I looked at every website. I seriously must have been one of the most clued in pregnant women ever! But really, I would love to care for the laboring moms, regardless of the health situation. Of course, I love the babies as well--but the whole birth process is far more interesting to me than say NICU. I think it would be awesome to get to share in one of the best days of a mother's life. And I am an adrenaline junkie, so I am up for any surprises or complications that are presented.
  12. by   klone
    Where do you find the 'externship' programs?
    Check with local hospitals. Almost all the hospitals in my area (Phoenix/Prescott) have externships. You are an employee of the hospital, it usually doesn't really have anything to do with your school, but they generally don't hire you until you've finished your first year of nursing school, and they're usually pretty good at working around your school schedule. It was SUCH an invaluable experience for me, I recommend it to anyone who can do it.

    And I am an adrenaline junkie, so I am up for any surprises or complications that are presented.
    Heh, you may change your tune after working in L&D. Believe me, a day when you DON'T have your adrenaline pumping is a good day. I can do without adrenaline rushes when I'm working with moms and babies, thankyouverymuch!
  13. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Look in the larger or teaching hospitals for nurse externships for graduating nurses.

    good luck!!!
  14. by   shortstuff31117
    I just started a job in OB this past Friday. I'm a new grad and L&D has always been my dream. I actually worked med-surg for 2 weeks before I was offered this job and I hated every second of it. If you want to do L&D then you should go for it. You'll be happier. I agree - try and do some kind of internship or work as a nurse tech or a NAC on a maternity floor during school. When you do your OB clinicals, really try to get in and see and do as much as you can. I basically got my new job because I worked as a nurse tech in OB during school.

    Good Luck!
    Carrie

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