Labor & Delivery RN: A blood & slime covered, co-dependant, adrenaline junky!
(These were the first words out of my mouth when I saw your request! My husband dared me to send it to you just like that! LOL )
A good L&D RN is a highly intellegent (dummies can't figure it out fast enough), over-worked (we do "peak & valley" work like ER, not "steady-state" nursing like a medical floor)(meals & breaks are often non-existent, as some babies just don't follow schedules very well...LOL), underpaid (that goes without saying), usually co-dependant (really helps to need to please others...on those days when you are totally exhausted...) "adrenaline junky" (a breed of professional who has to apologize when there is a crisis...'cause they like dealing with them!)who must love hard work, dealing with patients & their families during a major life-changing experience(often they are not at their best), skipping meals & breaks, and being strong patient advocates (we save lives, we prevent c/s where possible, we are the patient & the baby's intermediary to all) . She must not have an aversion to blood & slime (it isn't good to faint at the same time as the dad! LOL), women who scream and curse (just 'cuz you don't curse, doesn't mean she won't), and famlies who get in the way (Well intended, neurotic families make great roadblocks on the way to emergency surgery, etc....have to know how to gently handle them.) . She must love to wear gloves (latex-allergic RNs do not do well here) & not be HIV-phobic (we have lots of splashes & exposures to body fluids, despite precautions.) She must be physically fit, as there is a great deal of physical labor in the job, with long hours. She must be 2/3 psych nurse, as many patients/families need listening ears. She must have inner strength to be able to support others, as well as cope herself, when one of the babies or mothers die. She must be exemplary in her assessment, intervention, evaluation, and documentation of patient care (yes, L&D is moment-by-moment "The Nursing Process" in action) as she will be involved in several law suits during her career. (L&D is 2nd only to ER in lawsuits...& OUR patients have 21 years to sue us!)
Still want to be a L&D RN? GOOD!