Originally posted by LA-NJRN
I have been a Med/Surg nurse for about 4 years. 8 weeks ago, I had to go out on disability due to complications of pregnancy. Im 25 weeks now, at 16 weeks had to have a cerclage r/t DES exposure, (thanks mom) I like Med/Surg, but im afraid I will get burned out soon due to the extrememly stressful conditions some days. 12 hr shifts are just about always at least 13, some days, the ball gets rolling and ill skip morning break, take 15 minutes for lunch, then its back on the floor to continue doing 3 things at once, as quickly as possible till 8pm!(then all the paperwork until....) It can be exhausting, taking the entire next day to recover physically and emotionally from it, and I only work 2 days a week!! I would appreciate any insight anyone could give me on what your days are like, how many patients are you assigned? How stressful are your days? Has anyone switched from M/S nursing and if so, how does it compare? What are the downfalls of L&D? I love being a nurse and helping people, feel as though it is my calling, but I think it may be time for a change..... any comments will be appreciated!
I think if you would enjoy L and D it may be time for a change. I would welcome anyone with a great attitude and skills like YOURS to contribute.....
But if you think L and D is any less stressful, busy and exhausting, think once again. This is a common misconception held by non- OB nurses. I suggest working with an OB nurse, say shadowing, or floating, to see if it's for you. OUR 12 hour days can EASILY turn to 14 or more, just trying to keep up with charting and such, also. We do many change-of-shift admissions and deliveries and can't just leave cause the 12 hours are over for us, either. Babies come when they damn well please, and are NOT convenient, either. I have done MANY a change-of-shift csection, and that easily adds 2 or more hours to my already-long day/night. The paperwork involved in any delivery is MIND-BLOWING and it must be PERFECT and LEGALLY defensible, like anyplace, so you have to do that after the delivery is done. I come home DOG TIRED sometimes, so numb I cannot even think or sleep. ANY area of nursing can do this to you! Ob is certainly NO different in that aspect.
Another personal information byte: I was pregnant with my 2nd child and was in preterm labor at 30 weeks due to my work in OB. I had to be taken off work for *5 weeks* before I was able to resume my pace. The work itself put me in labor, period. When not working, I was ok. YOU ARE ON YOUR FEET ALL THE TIME, not just rocking babies, like so many seem to think. It's like anyplace, when you are busy you are KILLER BUSY, and when slow, VERY SLOW. I savor the slow days, when I get them. I will say, Some places have better staffing ratios than others.....Labor nursing, ESPECIALLY, is labor-intensive, requiring you to be on your toes every minute and very emotionally available. Don't let any 1:1 or 1:2 ratio involved in *labor* nursing fool you; you will earn your money and then some when doing this. Also, In some places in postpartum nursing, you may be caring for 6 to 8 couplets( that is really 12-14 patients you care for and chart on). I am lucky, usually I never do more than 4 couplets under normal circumstances, due to very good staffing ratios.
The ups? 99% of the time, it's a happy event you are a part of. The hugs you get....the tears that fill your eyes when new life comes into the world and new families are created! I LOVE moments like these and they are what keep me doing what I do, really. It is indeed WONDROUS! The other 1% can be horrendous tho: stillbirths/losses and/or rare maternal deaths. Losing a baby or mom is VERY hard on the psyche, believe me. Babies born with severe defects that may or not be compatible with life, that is another toughie. It is also among the most-- if not THE most ---litigioius areas of nursing you can choose. There are insurance carriers who refuse to cover you if you have ANYthing to do with Obstetric nursing. anyhow....I could go on and on....this is WAY too long already.....
I wish you well in your pregnancy and delivery and whatever you decide. Like I said, your skills are a definate asset to ANY place in nursing, so you will be welcome wherever you go. I did NOT mean to discourage you in any way, just make you aware to our realities as labor nurses. Welcome to the boards and OB, if you so choose. Good luck!:kiss