How to become a L&D nurse?

  1. 1
    Hello!
    I'm still in pre-nursing with a ways to go yet. I'm wondering how difficult it is to get a L&D position? I'll be getting my BSN then I want to get my MSN in midwifery. The program I want to apply to requires at least a year's experience as an RN, preferably in L&D. I'm hearing so much about how hard it is to land any job as a new grad period. And it seems like every nursing student I meet thinks they're going to land a job in L&D. Any advice on how to get into L&D? I feel like I'm being unrealistic.

    By the way, I live in Omaha, Nebraska. The nursing school I hope to attend (university of Nebraska medical center), tells us that there's a nursing shortage here in Nebraska. Whether that's true or not, I'm not sure.

    Thanks everyone!
    Joe V likes this.

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  2. 10 Comments...

  3. 0
    L&D positions are very competitive. L&D units tend to be smaller than other units in the hospital, and not all hospitals have them. So there are far fewer RN positions in L&D then there are in, say, med-surg.

    Also, in my experience L&D nurses tend to stay where they are. They don't change specialties as often as, again, med-surg nurses. Most units also require experience to work in L&D, so you may have to start out in a different area in order to get experience.

    Ways that you can increase the chance of you'll get a job in L&D is by doing your clinical rotation and preceptorship in L&D, if at all possible. The more clinical experience you have and the more connections you make on the L&D unit, the greater the chance of being hired after graduation. You could also try to do some shadowing while in school and, if possible, take some classed in fetal monitoring and NRP.
  4. 0
    Getting L&D experience as a new grad is tough. A hospital invests a LOT of time and resources in getting a novice up to the level where she/he can function as a competent L&D nurse; then if they wash out or quit, the hospital gets nothing for their investment. I've seen places where the way in was thru related areas (ex-postpartum, antepartum, low risk newborn). Often the maternal newborn areas are under the same manager. You can then establish yourself as someone who's interested in the field, and they can see what kind of nurse you are. Then try for a transfer to L&D. Good luck!
  5. 0
    Quote from Ashley, PICU RN
    L&D positions are very competitive. L&D units tend to be smaller than other units in the hospital, and not all hospitals have them. So there are far fewer RN positions in L&D then there are in, say, med-surg.

    Also, in my experience L&D nurses tend to stay where they are. They don't change specialties as often as, again, med-surg nurses. Most units also require experience to work in L&D, so you may have to start out in a different area in order to get experience.

    Ways that you can increase the chance of you'll get a job in L&D is by doing your clinical rotation and preceptorship in L&D, if at all possible. The more clinical experience you have and the more connections you make on the L&D unit, the greater the chance of being hired after graduation. You could also try to do some shadowing while in school and, if possible, take some classed in fetal monitoring and NRP.
    Thanks! I will do. I'm pretty much done with all my pre-reqs besides my sciences. :/ I'll need to sign up for filler classes to be full-time anyway so I'll try to find classes that will look better for L&D.
  6. 0
    Although it is a tough position to get as a new grad, not everybody wants to do it. I just finished my ob clinical and half of the people in my group never wanted to be in those units (postpartum, l&d, and nursery) again lol. When the theory instructor asked our whole class (140 students) who wanted to be in the ob field about only 25- 33% raised their hand.

    I don't know about your school but neither my community college or nursing school offers anything extra that is specifically for ob nursing so you may have to check with outside sources. Also, look into some certifications that you can get to increase your chances (rnc, acls, nrp, etc).

    Good luck
  7. 1
    I became and L&D Nurse right out of school. You have to do more than just graduate to get an L&D position right out of nursing school: I graduated with honors, sigma theta tau; while in school I got myself known around the birthing community by becoming a certified labor doula; I also attended an ADDITIONAL nursing program through a separate university, taking two semesters of nursing preceptorship in a local hospital in the L&D department that I currently work at; I got NRP certified before graduation; when hired I was working on a grant for doulas, so that low income moms could have a doula at their birth that was paid for by the grant; I attended a Beginning Midwifery course outside of my college that I got created as a college course and got college units for...

    I did a lot more than the average nursing student, but I also got myself out there and known with the local birthing community. My first L&D job was at a different hospital than I am now. I was only there for five months before they had to do cut backs (and I was the last one hired so the first to go) but my old manager called my current manager and mentioned she had a new nurse that she was going to have to let go; my current manager asked "Is it Heartsopenwide? Because if its her I want to hire her!"

    Some people say "its not what you know, but who you know" for me it was both, I covered my bases.
    chaka_1709 likes this.
  8. 0
    Chaka:
    Wow! That's it? I'm surprised. I would think more people would want to. What you're saying makes sense though. And you're right, I don't think my school offers any specific courses in that specialty. What i meant was that I'll have to take classes like women's studies or something of the like. Thanks!
  9. 0
    Heartsopenwide:
    WOW! I'm impressed! Good for you! I'll have to do the same and make myself known!

    You all are teaching me so much! Thank everyone for the great advice!
  10. 0
    I pretty much had L@D thrown at me right out of school. The float pool manager I interviewed with had previously been a maternity manager and thought I'd be a good personality fit so she asked if I wanted to go up and shadow a few shifts to decide. I was hooked so they stuck me in the four month perinatal program they were starting with four other girls who were all brand new. I had never had a labour rotation in my life!

    And up here in Calgary, because they're opening a new hospital, they've been ballooning staff for the past year in all departments to have fully trained staff available for when they open so you're pretty much guaranteed to get into a paid perinatal program if you apply and have no experience. Sometimes it's just about being in the right place at the right time
  11. 0
    Fyrrflie:
    That's an inspiring story! Thank you! I've been in love with the idea of being a nurse for a while now. I never thought I could get into L&D. I've always thought it was too competitive for me.
    You all are really helping me to believe maybe with a lot of hard work, I just might be able to! This would be a fantastic opportunity for me before going back to get my MSN in midwifery.


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