OBGYN Daily tasks, what do you do?

  1. I'm a new nursing student, and I'll trying to determine areas where I think I'd be interested in focusing on. I have the opportunity to take "field focus" classes based on the area of nursing that I think I'd like to go into.

    OB really interests me, although I think I'm getting some mixed messages on L&D. I've heard that nurses assist in birth and family comfort, and I've also heard that there are nurses in charge of delivery with minimal doctor involvement. I'd love to hear from some of you guys, since you're in the field day-to-day.

    What are your main tasks? This probably sounds like a really naive question, but I'd love to get as much information as I can.

    I'll also keep reading away on this board, I love it here!

    Thanks guys!

    Michelle
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Well as a LABOR nurse, YOU DO RUN THE SHOW in labor, not the doctor. He/she is rarely there unless complications/status changes arise or the baby is ready to be born. YOU are there to monitor and make decisions *autonomously* and report findings and your actions to physicians. More often than not, esp. in emergent cases, you ACT first, knowing what to do, then you call the doctor w/the facts and what you have done so far. You don't wait around for orders in these cases, you KNOW what to do! You make many independent decisions----especially on the night shift, cause the dr's do NOT want to be woken up all hours just for you to ask questions. They expect you to know what to do and be ready with FACTS when you DO wake them up.

    YOU are responsible for determining the status of both mom and fetus and acting on it, when needed.

    YOU are responsible for monitoring medical interventions such as pitocin use, IV fluid administration, epidurals, pain medications, cervical ripening, membrane rupture (as done by dr or spontaneous), and so many other things, and the effects these have on both mom and baby. You pay attention to sometimes very subtle changes that can mean a major change in status of the baby or mom. You know VERY well how to interpret fetal monitor readings and what they mean and when trouble may be brewing and you know what to do in case trouble indeed happens. You work closely with your coworkers, occasionally "bouncing things off their heads" to make sure you are right in the decisions you are making, cause NO ONE KNOWS EVERYTHING! Cohesion in labor/delivery nursing is VITAL, not optional and those who act like they know it all, scare me the most.

    You realize you are always treating TWO patients, not just one, so your actions affect two different people (or more, if multiple pregnancy is involved). You realize you work in one of the most ligitious areas of nursing possible and as a result, you stay on your toes and remain current at all times. This is time-consuming. You will be reading journals, doing continuing education work, and many other things ON YOUR OWN time to maintain current knowledge bases or else face the consequences. You stay up to date on legal issues regarding maternity nursing and fetal monitoring. You always remain current in neonatal resuscitation procedures.

    Most of all YOU LOVE WHAT YOU DO and cannot picture doing ANYTHING ELSE. And it shows in the care you give your patients as well as their family members. That to me, is what labor nursing is about. Now, GYN, another different thing...I do that, too. But I imagine you wanted to know about OB more than GYN??? Sorry this got so long. Can you tell I am passionate about what I do???? I wish you luck in school and beyond!
  4. by   mihi
    Wow Debbie - YES you are very passionate, I can tell! I think that's so awesome! It sounds like so much... I feel like this is where I'm supposed to be, and my heart is here... but... how did you gain the confidence to make these decisions? It sounds like you are really responsible for that pt, and the fetus, did you gain confidence over time? How did you get your experience? When you started out, did you just learn as you went, or do you feel that school really prepared you to make these decisions?

    Again, it's so cool to see how passionate you are... If I was in labor, that's they kind of nurse I'd want, for sure!

    Michelle
  5. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Michelle---It takes time and experience to become confident in any area of nursing. I am 5 years into it and just now feeling somewhat so. BUT OVER-CONFIDENCE is the quick ticket to complacency, something we cannot afford in OB nursing.

    IF you feel you were born to this, I say go for it. I welcome you with open arms. It was what I knew I wanted to do. When you do get into it, find a mentor, someone who wishes to help you learn; someone who is very knowledgeable. Watch what people do...learn both good and bad habits they have. Emulate the good ones, be wary of the bad ones. Read all you can and learn as much as possible. Don't be afraid to jump in there and work hard to learn what you can. You don't learn by standing on the sidelines. Don't take what anyone says to you personally. If someone dresses you down, take what you can to learn from it and discard the rest. THAT IS NOT TO SAY let anyone abuse you. DON'T.......you know the difference. I wish you well PM me anytime!
  6. by   Patsfan
    I agree with what Debbie said. I would advise getting some med surg under your belt first, but many hospitals are no longer requiring this. It is a great help when you are with high risk patients or can't figure out what is going wrong with your low risk ones!! Good luck with L & D. Go to a non-teaching hospital and you'll run the show. I love it!!!

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