I am sitting here struggling to collect my thoughts enough to repsond to this rationally and intelligently. Ok. So, here goes...
What you describe is probably every "born to be a labor nurse" nurse dreams of OB being. There are some places that actually allow natural birth, spontaneous labor. There are happy, drama free patients who actually know who the father their baby is AND want to be proactive and beat the I AM WOMAN drum. There are places that are untouched by the spoils of modern technology, where childbirth can be celebrated and cherished and not a ridiculous spectator sport where cheetos and mountain dew are involved.
Thanks to the Joint Commission, CMS, ACOG, Magnet, the Baby Friendly Initiative,the Meaningful Use Act, and any staff memeber of the law offices of Dewey, Cheetam and Howe (and oodles more too numerous to mention) nurses now have the incredibe opportunity to bond with a computer for 8 our the 12 hours they work, making sure every box is checked, every bubble is bubbled, there is a growth chart charted on a 19year old laboring patient, every medicine ever taken is documented and what diseases the paternal great great great great grand grandfather may have had and what year they died. Instead of making sure bonding happens when that baby comes out, we are scrambling to document FHT's q5 mins during second stage (which can be a long long time), making sure we document skin to skin in 5 different places to appease the baby friendly gods AND be crowd control over the gazillion family members all ignoring the poor mommy who just pushed a bowling ball out of her body, trying to get facebook coverage of a resuscitation. Labor is now a circus of medical intervention because women are just unhealthy these days. Complications lash them to a bed, to a monitor. with IV this and that. And by golly, someone out there told someone and they told someone, and they told someone else that labor is supposed to be PAINFREE, so not only do we have epidurals, we need to have complete and total numbness because our makeup may run if we sweat a little. Um...whoops. I do digress....
Please don't generalize your observations. Not all units are like what you have experienced, but I am sure there are far more than we care to admit. Nursing has changed and I am not sure it is for the better. Study after study shows that actual bedside time for the nurse is less than 2 hours total. How sad is that? I know that I didn't become a labor nurse to sit at a desk. But honestly, with the amount of documentation that is now attached to every patient, when is there time to actually care for the patient? This goes for any specialty. I cannot even begin to imagine having an assignment of 6 patients and having to chart these days. Yowza.
Nursing, medicine for that fact, has become CYA driven thanks to the litigious society we live in. THis is not an excuse for poor care. Maybe not even a reason. But it is a reality.
The minority are the patients who want no intervention. Who really want to do the natural thing. I am sure depending on geography, you may see this more, but I am sure there are more that live in city and suburbia who will tell you that patients arrrive in full makeup demanding and epidural upon admission or a csection more than they see a woman show up and say please I don't want anything.
There are days I can honestly be proud of the care I gave. That I made a difference. That I will be a memory in the birth of someone's child. There are also days I cannot remember giving this or that, or did I chart that or man, what happened here? My real world version of childbirth would be so much different than what it is 50% of the time, and that is being generous. For now, I have to find contentment in doing my best, trying to navigate rules and policy and giving my patient the best experience possible. Its always frustrating knowing I can't.
I know this probably doesn't hit the mark for your post, but I guess what I wanted to say ultimately is that appearances aren't always what they seem, and make assumptions that this is how it is all over, and please don't give up on 'the dream'.