I am hoping I will be attractive enough to employers, as a new grad, to get hired into Labor and Delivery. I am a Doula and have been for 5 years, I do antepartum, labor and postpartum. I am certified through DONA and CAPPA as a lactation educator (CLE, BFE) and I am also a certified childbirth educator. As you may be able to tell, this is my passion in life. I plan to get in to take ACLS and NALS as soon as possible as well. I tried to get into a fetal heart monitoring class, but they wanted me to already have my RN? (I have 6 months to go)
So, what do you think, all of this along with (I think) good technical skills, critical thinking skills and a huge dose of passion for this type of nursing.
Anything you else you would suggest to better prepare myself?
Nov 23, '05
Hello out there?? *echo echo*
Nov 23, '05
I don't know about the availability in your area. In my area, L&D is a highly sought after dicipline, but getting hired hasn't seemed to pose a problem for many. I have yet to graduate but many friends who have before me work in NICU and L&D....not my cup of tea. I am a nurse tech in ICU and love it! Most of my classmates who want to work L&D have secured nurse tech/extern positions at various facilities in L&D and are practically guaranteed a job after they graduate.
Nov 23, '05
I think your pretty well qualified to be a candidate for a new grad hired to L&D. Even if you don't get hired to L&D you might be able to get in on PP and apply to L&D the next year.
I do have 1 suggestion, I hope you don't take it the wrong way.
If I were you I would tone it down a bit. It sounds like your bursting at the seams and really love childbirth. That's wonderful and I share that love with you. I do have to warn you that a strong display of enthusiasm is likely to hurt you more then help.
Another thing that might hurt you a bit is the fact that you were a doula. As a labor nurse I think the idea of doulas is great. I also have had allot of bad experiences with doulas.
I have read most of the books on DONA and CAPPA's list I also have Internet friendships with many people that are doulas/childbirth educators. There is good information coming from this community. I incorporate many of things I learn from doula's into my care.
Still being a nurse and being a doula are 2 totally different things. I absolutely love the labor process and find it fascinating on both intellectual and spiritual levels. As a labor nurse you have to keep those feelings well restrained. Yes there are many opportunities to advocate, educate and encourage your patients. At the same time if you catch yourself enjoying the spiritual experience too much you will be doing your patient a disservice. It's their experience and yeah we get to participate in it, but you are there to keep them safe. I many times find myself enjoying the experience long after the delivery because during it I have to keep my mind on the potential dangers. I have in the past let myself get lost in the experience and I deeply regret that. So the way an RN supports a patient is by being the one who has their mind on the serious stuff. That way your patient doesn't have to worry about it.
I'm sure you already know all that but I just want to warn you that if you come off as a doula turn RN you are likely to meet some resistance.
So my suggestion is that when you apply and interview try not to use words like passion. Mention that you were a doula but don't imply that it prepared you for labor nursing.
As an RN it's going to be hard for you. I many times find myself in the middle of debates that I see both sides of. Many times you end up having to tell patients things they don't want to hear. Sometimes you have to be the one to tell your patients that their birth plan endangers their baby's life. Sometimes you have to come off the badguy to your patient in order to keep them and their baby safe. Other times you have to figure out how to get a doctor to comply with a birth plan and still keep their respect.
If you are able to successfully blend the skills you learned as a doula with the skills you'll learn as an RN you will be a wonderful nurse. Your patients will get the best of both worlds.
Good luck and once again please don't take this post as a flame I don't mean it like that at all.
Nov 24, '05
If you work in a setting that is low risk and/or has midwives, you definately would be an asset! Here are some things to ponder...
In my Level III unit there has been a slow trend to get the nurses to "soften up" a bit, so to speak, regarding management of term, normal labor. They have been offered the opportunity to attend doula workshops and childbirth certification classes. They've been encouraged to read the birth plans and NOT think that the woman has straightlined herself to the OR because she has one. Nurses have a huge impact on outcomes and if you present your personal views re: birth (my favorite that I've heard is "you don't get a T-shirt or a discount on your hospital bill if you do this naturally. You should get an epidural before you lose control...") you set yourself up to have the woman follow your plan, and not hers.
In addition you work with doctors who are more interventional than not. That's how it is in most cases. If you disagree with starting pitocin or elective 39 week inductions or whatever, and the patient picks up on this, things can get a little awkward.
In 2001 some undergraduate nursing students looked at our primary C/sections while a patient was in labor and the nurses involved with them. There were certain nurses that had very high rates of C-sections and interventional births, and some that had almost none. The most significant thing that impacted on the results was "prolonged bedrest" (meaning there was no ambulation or even sitting up and not much position changing during the labor). Of course you can't generalize the results to all labor units, but it did help us try and figure out how we, as nurses, could impact on that GODFORSAKEN high C-section rate!
As a doula you have learned tips and tricks to facilitate vaginal birth. I'd talk about that at an interview! Keep your personal feelings (other than your passion for birth) out of it. You probably will be asked "what would you do if" type questions. We've had interviews with people who say they HATE epidurals and can talk patients out of them (NOT GOOD) and people who say its about the choice a couple makes that guides the care. Guess who gets hired?
Nov 24, '05
You would SURELY be an asset. I would go for it. Dayray's post is excellent! Good luck to you.
Nov 25, '05
Thanks to everyone that posted, I appreciate the input! Dayray, great post. I do have it at the very forefront of my mind the big difference as an RN and a Doula. There is no blurred lines there! :-) Also, I appreciate where you are coming from but to quote the unit manager I have been in contact with "I am so happy to hear the word passion from you! I can teach anyone skills over time, what I cannot teach is passion for this type of nursing!" Also, I have had VERY positive feedback about being a doula, several people mentioned that may very well be what gets me hired as a new grad over someone else, or without direct L&D experience as a nurse. I guess it depends on who is doing the hiring and their mindset? We shall see...
So, my passion stays, but I do understand where you arew coming from. Thanks again!
I also wanted to add...alot of people think Doulas are only for so-called *natural* childbirth. Some are, but my way of thinking is this. I think of natural childbirth is a healthy Mom and baby after delivery and am there to faciliate that in whatever way the Mom and doctor choose. I had epi's with all of my kids and am totally for it! But, if I have a mother trying to go natural, I will surely support her in that as much as I can as a nurse, and as a advocate for her wants.
Last edit by hippienurse on Nov 25, '05
Nov 25, '05
That's great I'm glad you have been able to find an L&D that will see you as an asset. I'm not a doula but I do see birth as more then just a physical process that produces a baby. Many times I feel like sort of a double agent in my department. It's nice to know that there are places that embrace words like passion.
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