Interesting in Neonatology or L&D... want to ask a few questions

  1. I am about to recieve my bachelors in Psychology and Child Development and have recently considered going into nursing. I love children, especially babies and would do anything to help them. I think I might be interested in neonatology or labor and delivery. How are they alike... different? What type of schooling is involved in those two areas? Are they similar or very different? What are some good nursing programs in the New York area? Any advice for a prospering nurse???

    [This message has been edited by lbw (edited June 05, 1999).]
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  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   Rainbow7180
    I am a student labor & delivery nurse, and last semester I completed my OB class. I hope you don't mind listening to a student's perspective. In the class we got to visit the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for a day (though we were not allowed to do anything but look at the babies, no care given to them) and spoke to a neonatologist. In the NICU, the nurses have to know more about abnormalities and illnesses in babies than those in L&D. They require an even more delicate manner than used with a healthy infant. Many of them started out in the well-born nursery or in L&D, and all of them agreed that it takes a lot of time and experience to be able to care for these infants. They had also all been there for at least 10 years, and said it's not a part of the hospital that nurses bounce in and out of. Most recommended being on the OB unit for a while before going to the NICU. The well-born nursery provides a lot of useful expereinces that can help in the NICU. And the well-born nursery is not without it's risky situations, too. Personally, I was in clinicals and my best friend's daughter came in and had her baby, a girl. Half an hour or so after the birth, nurses came running to my best friend's shouts (she works as a circulator in surgery) that the baby was solid blue. The nurse raced her to the well-born nursery (it was closer) and saved her life with chest compressions and O2. I say go for the neonatology if you're truly interested, but be in the OB unit first for a while.
  4. by   andiRN
    Hi! I too have a BS in Psych., MEd. in Counseling, and a BSN in Nursing. I am currently the nurse manager at my maternal/child area of my hospital. I knew without a doubt I wanted only maternal nursing when I started. I do not like med/surg or general nursing areas. But I regret now after being in for so long that I did not start out in a general nursing area to get the experience in those areas. Issues come up with medical procedures that I have to muddle through or get help with bec. of the lack of experience. My previous degrees have been a great help in nursing. Your psych will always go hand in hand with nursing. You may find that NICU or newborn nursery is much different that pediatrics where the children can actually interact with you. If you have a desire to help children, you may be better suited for an area they can talk back to you. You should go to a local hospital and ask to volunteer in each area or go and talk to nurses in each area and get the insight from the perspective of the nurses. Good Luck!
  5. by   Robin MC
    I have been a labor nurse for 10 years now. The one question you should ask yourself is how well do you function under stress?? Extreme stress at times. With the birth process things can change quite rapidly and you must be prepared to assess the changes and act on them, sometimes without a MD there to tell you what to do. I have to say that being a part of each birth has been very special to me, I still cry occasionally. As for neonatology, I have never worked in a NICU but I have worked in a Level II nursery (no ventilators)and found that to be quite rewarding. One thing to think about is that as a NICU nurse you would working with extremely ill babies, very technical stuff. As far as similarities go between the L@D and neonatology, both require the ability to assess situations quickly and take appropriate action in a emergency. Both would be considered a "speciality" in terms of the knowledge and training needed. L@D focuses primarily on the mother and the birth process while neonatology deals with the infant. One last comment is that I believe all nurses should have at least 6 months of general med-surg nursing before they enter their specialty of choice. It really helped me, even though I did not find it pleasant. A good nurse is a well rounded nurse. Good luck and congratulations on your current achievement!
  6. by   Tired
    I agree completely with each response. My experience has been 10 years in L&D and Newborn nursery. We are a Level 1 facility, so we don't even keep infants who need IV therapy. (We are within 10 miles of a really good Children's Hospital!) I really enjoy working with the newborns. I find it really rewarding when I pick up on something "that isn't quite right" and it ends up saving a baby's life. I also find it very heartbreaking to pick up on something "that isn't quite right" and not be able to do anything to fix the problem. My experiences have strengthened my belief in God, to say the least. To lose a baby isn't acceptable.
    I, personally, couldn't work with the severely ill or terminally ill babies. I am proud of my colleagues and my self when we are able to deliver a live,premature infant and get them to "KIDS" asap. But I sometimes wonder why we saved them. What type of life will they have? That's where God comes in. I'm sure He had a reason, and who am I to question... Anyway, I did have 8 months on a Med/surg unit. It was a 42 bed unit that was severely understaffed. I, as a new grad, would take a third of the floor during my orientation, just to give the other girls a more reasonable patient load. It only got worse. By the time I transferred to OB I was taking care of half the floor, and hoping no one would die before I could get to them and do an assessment. It was a nightmare! But it taught me organizational skills that I couldn't have gotten on OB, and I am better able to care for my OB patients. It also comes in really handy when I get pulled to other units (ICU,CCU,Telemetry,ER,ETC.) I don't feel like an incompetent fool.
    You know your heart and what you will be able to handle emotionally. That will guide you in your decision. Good luck!
  7. by   SlinkRN
    I have been an L&D RN for 2 1/2 years now and I love it!! We have a LDRP unit so sometimes I have to do post-partum or gyne patients which I'm not real crazy about doing. Last April I started working in the NICU of the university hospital in addition to my job in L&D and I love that also!! The NICU was the reason I went into nursing, because our 4th child was born at 28 weeks gestation and I found the unit there very caring and I wanted to be able to be there for other parents and their babies. I went into L&D first because that's where I was working during nursing school. I'm so glad that I started out there, because it makes me very well rounded in my knowledge of the birth process and also opens lots of doors for the future, since I have heard that L&D nurses will be in short supply in the years to come. Sometimes I feel a little overwhelmed by all the information I need to know for both specialties, but I love the challenge!! I would recommend starting off in one of the fields but not giving up on the other interest. After a couple years experience you may want to branch out! I find L&D more fast-paced and exciting - but you must be willing to miss a few dinners!! NICU is challenging, I find it to be a little slower paced but you really need to be thinking carefully the whole shift. Lots of IV fluids and meds.
    I didn't feel the need to work on a med-surg floor first (although our school had lots of clinical hours, the last quarter was 3 days a week/full shifts). I started nursing after I had my 4 children so I wanted to get right into my dream because I had no time to lose!!!

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