I have a stupid question

  1. I'm leaning towards oncology as a specialization, but I have also thought of ob/gyn and L&D. My stupid question is: Do you have to have had children to be a L&D nurse? Would it be preferred if you had had kids of your own? Are you not taken as seriously...or are you even considered....if you HAVEN'T had children?

    Let me add here that as a student I do not have any kids and am concerned about being seen as 'competent,' since I have not experienced childbirth myself. I don't know if it would matter to a patient if you were 'experienced' or if you were just well-trained but knew nothing personally/could not relate to the experience of childbirth.

    Logically I can see that male ob/gyns have not 'experienced' childbirth yet they know what they are doing. But I don't know if nurses are treated/seen differently or not...'female nurturing' and all that. I can also see that, for example, you do not have to have been in a car accident yourself to be able to treat someone. But there's just something about L&D....

    Please indulge me, thank you.
    Last edit by Figaro's Mom on Jul 24, '02
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  2. 22 Comments

  3. by   HollyWA
    I'm not L&D but was a newborn/nicu,pp nurse before kids. I attended deliveries and learned alot from my L&D friends. I wanted to do L&D someday. I did think like you--but many of my L&D friends had no kids--they are still great nurses!! I would think it would depend on how you felt. It's like--I took care of newborns--but never had one myself. I was even in charge of our unit. Someone thought I was competent!!! I don't think it really matters to the patients. I was never asked if I had kids or not--until I was pg with my 1st--the question being--"is this your 1st?"
  4. by   labornurse
    We have 2 L&D nurses on our unit that have never had any children and have been on the unit for 20 years plus. They are both favorites with the patients and have been preceptors for nearly all of us in L&D.
  5. by   Figaro's Mom
    Thank you so much. I know it sounds like a stupid question, but this is why I'm here....to ask and find out from the pros! I was in the delivery room when my cousin was giving birth to her 2nd kid, and saw everything from beginning to end....thought it was way cool. I am sure there are sad moments too though...stillborns, etc. I just didn't want to feel 'disqualified' should I end up going in the L&D direction. Thanks again y'all.
  6. by   Dayray
    First let me say that I completely understand why you would ask this. Most people tend to view their patients condition threw their own experiences.

    However, as person who has never and will never experience childbirth I have no problem comprehending my patient's pain. I don't claim to know exactly how the pain of childbirth feels but I do believe I am able to assess my patient's pain and to have compassion for them.

    I don't think anyone would criticize you for working in L&D and if they do they are off base.

    I actually think that sometimes peoples own experience with childbirth makes them less sympathetic to patients. I've heard " I was in labor for xx hours and didn't cry that much" and "We all go threw it what's the big deal".
  7. by   ADN 2002
    I'm a PP nurse, and I don't have kids (I'm only 23...) and I haven't had a patient yet that acted like I didn't know what I was talking about. I have been asked a lot of times if I have kids though...I get asked just about daily at work. I like having worked in OB before I go to have kids, I know EXACTLY what to expect. One of these days...
  8. by   OBNURSEHEATHER
    I don't think I've ever not been taken seriously, for long anyways.

    Alot of my problem is that I usually look about 20 years younger than most of the nurses on our floor. It wasn't uncommon for me to get a raised eyebrow and a "you have kids?"

    But no, you don't have to have kids to be good at helping other people have kids. Let your demeanor and your presentation be their judge.

    Good luck to you!

    Heather
  9. by   mark_LD_RN
    it has nothing to do with the care you provide, it requires genuine compassion and caring that is basically it. I am obviously male, and my patients love me, the nurses docs and midwives as well as my patints have told me i am the best L&D they ever had. it is just because of my bedside manner and compassion, i believe that is the only difference .
  10. by   shay
    Originally posted by Figaro's Mom
    Do you have to have had children to be a L&D nurse?
    **disclaimer: sore subject for poster**

    Gee, I dunno....do you have to have cancer to be an oncology nurse? A burn victim to work on a burn unit??

    No nastiness intended toward you figaro's....just a very sore subject. Have had a couple of colleagues give me the, 'well, what do you know, you've never had a baby' crap. Whatever. No, I DON'T know what a contxn feels like, no, I DON'T know what it is like to have baby feet jamming into my ribs at 32 weeks...but da** it, I can still be a da** good L&D nurse. Urrrrrrrrghhhhhhhh....that mentality just burns my butt. CAN YA TELL???

    Do I get less credit? Actually, NO. My patients are usually surprised I DON'T have children yet, and say, 'but you seem like you'll be such a great mom!' I get that a lot, thank you. If my pt. asks if I've had kids, I'm up front. I tell the truth. I also don't try to snake around the subject, like if they ask me if getting an epidural hurts, I tell them 'I don't know from experience, as I've never had an epidural OR a baby, but my patients tell me_______.'

    Lack of personal experience on the birthing end hasn't been a problem for me with PATIENTS. I wish I could say the same was true for some former co-workers of mine.

    Know what the biggest problem with the never had kids/working on L&D thing is for me, personally? Fear. I've probably wanted a kid for, oh, 2 years now. Not even TRYING to get pregnant yet. Still trying to decide if I want to take the 'risk' of delivering at the birthing ctr where there are no drugs, or if I want to suffer through the whole hospital birth experience (that thought is just sheer torture for me...ugh......) simply because there's anesthesia avail. if I can't hack it. Bleah. But that is another thread all together.........

    So to answer your question, no, belonging to the mommy club is not a prerequisite for labor and delivery employment.
  11. by   BBnurse34
    Gee, I dunno....do you have to have cancer to be an oncology nurse?

    Darn it Shay, you beat me to it...I was so jazzed about saying that...
  12. by   SmilingBluEyes
    NOOO! some of the best L and D nurses I have had the pleasure to work with had NO kids.......and some of them male. It is a misconception that you have to have delivered a baby yourself to be a good OB nurse! I second Shay here; I have never had a FETAL demise MYSELF, but don't think that stops me from providing the BEST care to a family who has. I have never had a hysterectomy and all the emotions that surround this...but I give supportive and kind care to those that do, all the time!

    Lesson is: Don't let this stop you from being what you want to be and bringing some real good to our profession! We need you!
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Jul 25, '02
  13. by   I1tobern
    I have to agree with shay and dayray. Now, I am a mother, but I am just a nursing student. I think to be a good L & D nurse one would have to be able empathetic and compassionate.

    Not everyone has the same pain tolerance, and we all forget some of the bad stuff that goes on with our deliveries ( I hurt, and cussed like a sailor, but did not want an epidural--I know, I know, I must be crazy).

    The thing to remember is why you are there.
  14. by   Figaro's Mom
    Originally posted by BBnurse34
    Gee, I dunno....do you have to have cancer to be an oncology nurse?

    Darn it Shay, you beat me to it...I was so jazzed about saying that...
    If both of you noticed in my first post, I made reference to males who work in OB/Gyn who obviously have not experienced childbirth, as well as the example of someone not having had to be injured in a car accident to treat someone who has.

    I was asking an honest question from a student's perspective, and I thought I was asking in a courteous manner. Thanks to those of you who do not feel the urge to be rude or sarcastic when I am asking an honest question. If it's a sore spot for you, then I would appreciate it if you do not take it out on me, please. I did not sign up to be a walking bullseye for someone else's entertainment or fulfillment. I am just trying to learn.

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