I am currently a nursing student in my senior year and have to put in my request as to where i will do my preceptorship next semester. I wast thinking about postpartum... but am not actually sure what i want to do
I will be completing my OB clinical this semester so im sure i will have a better idea of what the floor is like once im done with the rotation but what can i say, i am impatient, lol. I was hoping for a specialty that is not as high stress as medsurg. I hated my med surg clinical and will hate my med surg 2 clinical this semester. I know i will never work med surg, and actually cant picture myself working anywhere in the hospital besides OB. Either that or i was seriously considering looking for an office job.... with a pay cut obviously
So what I'm wondering is postpartum nursing a low stress job ? "Stress" to me is... - high acuity patients, tons of meds and procedures, turning and position obese patients, and bathing them (I am 5'1, and 100 pounds)... i need help of another student for EVERYTHING (bed pan, bath, help getting up.)
Yes i know postpartum would have stressful days as every specialty does, but I am asking in general. Please do not respond with "Oh, all nursing jobs are stressful blah blah blah." I am looking for input from postpartum RN's who can tell me their opinion of postpartum vs. other specialties, or just their experience in postpartum in general. Also interested in what you would consider "stress" in postpartum. thanks in advance!
I've worked L&D, LDRP, and just postpartum. Out of all three, I would have to rank postpartum as the most "low stress." I say that very cautiously, depending on the facility. In a high risk facility, your pp patients can be VERY sick. We are talking cardiac issues, brittle diabetics, pregnancy complications, etc..In a high risk facility, you probably have a NICU or nursery--that elimates your responsibility for a baby. That is a plus. But, if you work at a smaller hospital, I do believe that it becomes more difficult. You have more autonomy and rely on co-workers more. I have worked at both types of facilites and do not take away from ANY nurse in either. In a smaller facility they are moving more towards LDRP's (combined units). You are responsible for mom & baby from admission to discharge. You need to know your stuff-on both ends. You don't have NICU, interns, or CNM's for backup. But, at a high risk facility, your patients are usually more acute. I know my advice sounds contradictory, but I don't mean to be. I just don't want you to think that because you work "postpartum," it is a walk in the park. It could be. But, it can also turn BAD--very quickly....and you need to be competent, educated, and ready for the unexpected. (and have patience of steel for breastfeeding, lol)
Last edit by geminiRNC on Sep 4, '12
Sep 4, '12
by Elvish, BSN, RN
I work in a high-risk facility that does couplet care, exception being for NICU babies. We are responsible for 3-5 couplets (read: 6-10 patients) and depending on the shift it is either a cake walk or it is balls to the wall busy and I'm glad everyone is still breathing at the end of my shift. We also house high-risk antepartums on our floor, so throw that into the mix. Of all my couplets, I am glad if just one is an uncomplicated one. I might have an antepartum with mono-mono twins getting monitored 3x/daily, a fresh postop c/section with breastfeeding difficulty, a vaginal delivery with chorio and both she and baby are on IV antibiotics, and one 'normal' couplet. God forbid my section bleed, or one of my babies crash. Rare is the day when all my patients have only minor issues.
The trend nationwide is toward couplet care; many hospitals are eliminating or severely downsizing their nurseries. If you work postpartum, you are likely to be responsible for babies as well. Don't let their smallness fool you; they can compensate for a very long time. When they finally crash, they can do it very very quickly, so you'd better be at the top of your game. Most of my scariest patient scenarios have been with newborns.
I say this not to scare you, just as a healthy dose of reality. We had a recent transfer from med-surg come to our unit and talk about how a bad day on our floor had to be better than a good day on med-surg. After about 4 weeks she started crying mid-shift and said what a bad couple weeks she was having. This is not intended as a gloat, because it truly has been insane lately, and bad days suck. But I think at that point she started to 'get' why postpartum isn't the unicorns and rainbows that people think it is. Don't get me wrong - I'll take this over bed-jumping and DTs (which I have also done) any day of the week. But it ain't holding and rocking babies, either.
I'm hesitant to put one answer to your poll, because honestly it depends on what day, what shift, what the answer will be.
Last edit by Elvish on Sep 4, '12