Duties of OB nurses (and others) Please feel free to add!

  1. For the benefit of new nurses and future/prospective OB/GYN nurses and doulas, midwives, others, thought I would try a sticky that discusses various duties/skills sets and other characteristics that make a "good", well-rounded OB nurse, doula, midwife or other professional dealing with Women's Health Issues. This question seems to come up now and again, so let's help em out.

    I will start. Here are skills sets for OB nurses that I found apply in most areas. Again feel free to add to this; I want to learn as well!


    Inbound facility tranfer unit
    Outbound transfer to other facility
    Identify fetal position (Leopold maneuvers)
    Fetal heart tones
    Severity of contractions
    Vaginal exam, dilitation & effacement
    Vaginal exam, station & presentation
    Vaginal exam, culture collection

    Set up tocotransducer
    Intrauterine pressure catheter
    Auscultate fetal heart tones
    Intact/nonintact membranes
    Nitrazine test
    Internal fetal monitor
    Interpreting normal/abnormal fetal heart patterns
    Baseline interpretation
    Early decelerations
    Beat to beat variability
    Late decelerations
    Prolonged decelerations
    Set up OB pack
    Set up baby pack
    Cord blood collection
    Artificial rupture of membranes

    Pregnancy Induced Hypertension
    Abruptio placenta
    Placenta previa
    Prolapsed cord
    Premature rupture of the membranes
    Premature labor
    Magnesium sulfate
    Drug dependent
    RH incompatibility
    Blood transfusion
    Forceps delivery
    Vacuum extraction
    Precipitous delivery
    Gestational Diabetes/Diabetes and its sequalae
    Starting IV's
    Cesarean section-circulate
    Cesarean section-scrub
    Central line placement, set up & assist
    Epidural, set up & assist
    Spinal, set up & assist
    Local, set up & assist
    Foley catheter placement
    Pain control, narcotic
    Intrathecal medication delivery
    Episiotomy, set up & assist
    Uterine massage
    Lochia assessment
    Induction of labor
    Prostaglandin supp
    Oxytocin infusion

    Relaxation/breathing techniques
    Premature labor prevention
    Phone triage

    Labor coaching/support for birthing mother/family
    Neonatal assessment/resuscitation as needed
    Breastfeeding initiation/support/ongoing teaching
    Self-care and baby care once you go home
    Care of any surgical wounds/therapies
    After-care telephone triage (answering questions once a new family has gone home)
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    About SmilingBluEyes

    Joined: Apr '02; Posts: 38,657; Likes: 15,780


  3. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Doulas, midwives, nursing students and other professionals, please feel free to add commentary and suggestions!
  4. by   SuperFlyRN
    I cannot even think of anything to add-that is a *very* comprehensive list-but I will think....(my lady is currently laboring down and I am on a break:spin: )
  5. by   SmilingBluEyes
    well if you do, please feel free to add!
  6. by   Spidey's mom
    Wow, we do alot. Impressive list Deb.

    We don't circulate or scrub though. We are the baby nurse however.

  7. by   RaeT,RN
    I thought of one:

    ADVOCATE FOR THE PATIENT. It is ultimately her delivery.
  8. by   ragingmomster
    Under the heading of advocate, how about a subcategory of Martyr? Early on in labor I offer myself as the proverbial lamb to the slaughter.

    IE> I find a moment to talk to the mom alone to ask her specifically if there is a family dynamic I should be aware of and offer to throw myself under the bus if intervention is needed. Pushy grandparents to be, "friends" who arrive to observe the miracle, etc.
  9. by   ragingmomster
    Oh, Oh, two more, Research-not a week goes by that I am not looking for more info; and Delivery of infants- not that I wanted to, but without an MD in the room, it happens.
  10. by   texas-rn-fnp
    I hear you on delivery. In my current job I deliver because I volunteer and most doctors are more than happy to accommodate, but in a previous hospital that I was moonlighting at, the doctors would typically not arrive for delivery, especially after hours, due to several reasons, . 1)since it was downtown, most doctor's homes were at least 30 minutes or more away from hospital. 2)it was not safe to travel to this location after dark. 3)most patients were multiparous so lots of times they didn't have time, even if they wanted to,unless they stayed at hospital (which they didn't).

    Add to list of duties: train and supervise interns, coordinator of multidiscilpinary care.
  11. by   texas-rn-fnp
    Forgot to add: train and keep an eye on family practice interns, residents, and staff.
  12. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Excellent additions guys. Keep em coming!
  13. by   Kiwi Ali
    Hi, I'm an RN, i work permanent 12 hr nights in a birthing unit at a small rural hospital. There is one of us on duty at a time :-). We can assist the LMC (lead maternity carer) in labour and delivery, as she directs. We are mainly here for postnatal care of well mums and bubs. Typically on this unit, in fact in a lot of hospitals in NZ, there are NO doctors at delivery. Most women choose to have an LMC during their pregnancy, and get all their A/N care from her, then they will meet up with said LMC at the hospital (or home) when birth is imminent. Anything other than a 'normal' pv delivery is transferred out. The occaisonal breech and twin birth has been delivered here. We (the LMC) can offer gas, pethidine or water for pain relief.
    We have two delivery beds, a birthing pool and 4 postnatal beds, plus a day bed for use when A/N's come in for monitoring or assessment, and this bed can also be utilised if ward fills up.
  14. by   texas-rn-fnp
    What is an LMC? Is that like a midwife? What type of gas? Pethidine? Please elaborate. This is different than here in the US.