Do ER Nurses make good OB Nurses?

  1. 0
    Hi everyone,

    I am a new nurse, with a year and a half of ER experience (almost a year off orientation completely). I am considering a specialty change- not because I don't love ER because I do- but because I am frustrated with *MY* ER. Too many reasons to list. I have a contract to stay in my hospital for several years after orientation, but they will let me switch units. The only other unit I would consider is L&D. I like the acuity, the population, and the idea of mixing adult and Peds nursing like I do now.

    Do you guys think having ER experience will be helpful in transitioning to this specialty? I had a few years of doula experience prior to nursing school so I already know I enjoy working with the population and know a good amount about the physiology and emotional experiences of childbirth. My ER is a trauma, stroke, and heart center so critical care is not new to me, though I am still a new nurse and learning a LOT every day. The only thing I have no experience in is OR. I am really worried about that part.

    I rotate between the adult and Peds ER and have ACLS and PALS. In what way do you think my skill set will be useful in OB? Any advice before I apply?

    Thanks!
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  3. 8 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    No one?
  5. 0
    No one can weigh in? I'm confused: I just joined AN but it seems like the other conversations are flowing nicely. Did I do something wrong when I posted?
  6. 1
    I personally have no OB experience but have 5 1/2yrs ER experience so I cannot offer you great advice, but I don't want you to think you are being ignored. One of the great things about working ED is that you learn to adapt to various situations because we often encounter the entire spectrum of healthcare from critical care, OBGYN, pediatrics, urgent care, to psych patients.
    I'm sure you will do just fine, perhaps you can shadow a few shifts to get a feel for that unit and the staff. I'm sorry to hear that you are unhappy with your current ED and best wishes in future endeavors!
    Jaysie1 likes this.
  7. 0
    Hey - just want to let you know that this board does not move at the same frenetic pace as other social network sites.

    You're probably not being ignored. I don't think folks check these boards daily. I pop over here every week or so. Sometimes longer. Just wait a little bit, you'll get responses.

    As for your question. I think an ED nurse would have some very valuable skills applicable to OB nursing, but also there are some other areas would need development.

    Training in EFM, lactation, labor support, normal and abnormal labor.
    Being able to respond quickly when a pt's condition changes is a very valuable skill in OB, but also being present and supportive when action is not needed (ie during normal labor) is also important. If it's a L&D and PP position - there's lots of education that's done those first few days PP. There are a lot of different roles that nurses fill on the OB unit.

    If it is an area that interests you, learn all you can - about every aspect of pregnancy, labor, birth, postpartum, babies - before you start applying. If the subject matter bores you to tears, you'll know it's not for you.

    If you're positively riveted by it, you'll know you've found your niche.
  8. 0
    I do network L & D, but mother-baby. I've heard the L&D nurses refer to their job as an ER for pregnant people.. You have your triage rooms, and when things go bad, they go bad quickly. We have women brought in by ambulance. The pace would probably be different for you. When it is busy, it's busy, but sometimes you will watch the clock. You never know what will walk through the door.
  9. 1
    I am a level one trauma nurse who went to L&D. Your ED skills will enhance your knowledge when triaging patients (especially falls and MVAs), assessment skills related to shock and of course assessment skills used to assess mom/baby, amongst other things. I have only been in labor and delivery for about 7 weeks now. There are whole new skills sets to learn: obtaining NRP, STABLE, Basic FHM and beginning intermediate FHM. The charting is WAYYYY different than charting by exception in the ER. Learning the role of circulator and baby nurse in c-section is new (more charting etc). Maintaining multiple lines is a nice skill to have from ER--- the common medications used in OB are different than the ER. I looked up all of the L&D meds I could before I hit the unit. Be ready to learn a ton cuz OB is a bit of its own world BUT, with that being said, I don't regret my decision.
    Jaysie1 likes this.
  10. 2
    I definately think your experience would be helpful. *A lot of people don't realize how similar ED and L&D is. *I think in both areas nurses have a lot of autonomy and also work much closer with residents/doctors. *
    Jaysie1 and RunBabyRN like this.
  11. 1
    My advice: jump in feet first. I am a former ER/trauma nurse, who moved into an education + professional practice/professional development role, who was recently named the Director of Obstetrics... so if I can figure this out, certainly you can. Best of luck to you!
    Jaysie1 likes this.


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