Questions for L & D Nurse's....

  1. I am not a RN but hope to be. I have a couple of questions though. I wanted to know is it more common to work 8 or 12 hr. shifts in L & D? If you work/have worked a 12 hr shifts how many breaks do you get? Is it extreamly hard to do a 12 hr shift in L & D? How did you get your start in L & D? Do you injoy L & D (pro's and con's)? How is clinical in school? I want to be a L & D RN sooooo badly. I was just wanting to know a couple things. Any insight would be great !! Thanks
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Hi there, and welcome to the forum!! Glad you found us.

    It depends on where you work as to length of shifts. Where I am, all the hospitals pretty much do 12 hour shifts in L/D. Few do 8's anymore.

    I love what I do---I am perdiem, meaning I work when things get busy and they need help, not a regular schedule per se.

    I got into OB right out school, and never regretted it. It's hard to learn any area of nursing right out of school and OB is no different. It took me about 2 fulltime years to feel confident and comfortable in what I do----it won't happen over night.

    If you are looking to get hired into L and D right out of school, your best bet would be to find a hospital that offers residency programs in specialities such as L/D and go that route. Most hospitals do not hire new graduates directly into OB---they are few and far between.

    Be sure to check out our new OB student thread (stickied at the top) ----it's got lots of good and informative reading for you.

    GOOD LUCK and best wishes. Again, welcome.
  4. by   Dayray
    Hi,
    "Is it more common to work 8 or 12 hr. shifts in L & D?"

    12 hour shifts are the most common in all hospital nursing. Some places still do 8's and there are some situations where people even do 8's where I work.

    "If you work/have worked a 12 hr shifts how many breaks do you get?"

    When working 12's or any shift in nursing, you take breaks when they are possible. Officially you are supposed to get 2 paid 15 min breaks and an unpaid 30 min for lunch. They always take the 30min out of your check but most of the time you'll eat at the desk while charting or wolf down something in the break room quickly. There are rare times when you'll have an easy night with only a few patients and the whole night feels like a break but most of the time you'll find you don't have time to eat.

    "Is it extremely hard to do a 12 hr shift in L & D?"

    12's are good and bad. On the days you work you don't have time to do much other then work and sleep. It can be very tiring. Most places have you work 3 days a week so you're off 4, this can be nice. Although most find that the first day you're off is spent resting you still have 4 days at home.

    "How did you get your start in L & D?"

    I had hospital experience before going to nursing school. I had worked in allot of different areas so I had something to put on my resume. Once I graduated with my LPN I worked postpartum and continued on to get my RN. I worked PP and floated a bit until 3 months from graduation and then I got into an intern program and oriented to L&D. When I got my RN license I floated between L&D, PP, nursery and peds. Experience in any hospital area can help allot if you want to get hired as a new grad. Being flexible and helping your manager fill holes is really beneficial. When I was a LPN I would take any shift they asked me too and always helped out when asked. Also making friends with people in L&D will help immensely.

    "Do you enjoy L & D (pro's and con's)?"

    I absolutely love L&D it is challenging on many levels; there are many things to learn and so many things to do. For me it's the most rewarding area I have worked in. It's not that I feel that other area's are less important but I do fill that it is a place where you can make a huge difference in someone's life and that is very important to me.

    "How is clinical in school?"

    Clinicals are fun but scary and hard. You'll be expected to know everything about your patient, their treatments and medications. You'll do the work of a nurse without the benefit of experience. Sometimes your clinical instructors will be great other times you feel like your flying without net and other times they will treat you like dirt and scare the pants off you. Still this is where you learn how to be a nurse and it is very exciting.

    "I want to be a L & D RN sooooo badly. I was just wanting to know a couple things. Any insight would be great !! Thanks"

    L&D is much different then what it appears to be. Very rarely will you hold babies and although it is a very happy time for families it's mostly business for the nurse. I'm not saying you won't enjoy it or that there wont be warm fuzzy moments but for the most part you are there to keep people safe and that can be stressful.
  5. by   Hope2BaRN
    Thank you for your information. It is great to hear from people that have been there and done that.
    I know school will be hard, and L&D is no cake walk. I want to work in L&D because the RN that cared for me while I was having my daughter was such a great RN, she basically saved my daughter's life (all the MD did was deliver her, left the rest up to the 1 RN who looked pretty worried), really it was inspiring.
    I had always known I wanted to be a RN I just couldn't figure out which area would be best for me, but that one moment/encounter helped me to make up my mind. She also encouraged me to finish school and achieve my dream of becoming a RN (she did it as a single mom with two young children)
    I don't want to work in L&D to just hold babies. I want to do it because I want to make a difference, I want to care for the mothers as well as the babies, be able to insure them about things, and who knows save a life or more.
    Again thank you so much for the information.
  6. by   SmilingBluEyes
    That was what propelled me to enter nursing school and be an L/D RN. I was so impressed and amazed at the wonderful care I received at the premature birth of my first child. I wanted to BE one of them!


    and now I AM! Nothing wrong w/your reasons/motivations. GO FOR IT!
  7. by   pgws0212
    I also started nursing school knowing that L&D was my choice of nursing. Everyone in my class laughed at me and said someone has to die for a position to open. HAHA to them. During our FIRST day of clinicals, we met the nurse manager of the L&D unit. I walked right up to her, introduced myself, told her my goals, (working in her unit). I started working float pool in that hospital my second semester of college, and in January before my graduation the nurse manager of L&D called me to work in the unit as an extern until graduation. Now who's laughing! That was in 1991 and now in 2005 I have worked in many different units and even tested the waters of travel nursing for a year. That was a great learning experience, and the pay is like nothing you'll ever get in a local hospital.
    My advice is "go for it", never be afraid to ask questions, soak up the knowledge and experience of "seasoned" nurses and remember that you're not considered an "experienced" L&D nurse for 5 years. BTW, your mentor will help you learn to read fetal strips but the unit/hospital SHOULD send to to at least a basic fetal monitor class before releasing you from orientation. Good luck and best wishes to you in your nursing experience.
  8. by   Hope2BaRN
    pgws0212, Thank you soooo much. It feels good to know that someone has made it despite all the negative talk (about how hard it will be to become a L&D RN and how hard it is to find a L&D job) I have heard from class mates. I know that L&D is my calling, it is my passion the good, the bad, and the ugly. I hope I can find my way like you have.
    Thank you once again !!!
    Hope2BaRN
  9. by   lndrnsandi
    I've done OB off and on since 1988, and have done both 8 and 12 hour shifts.
    I preferred 12 hour shifts until I adopted my daughter, and I almost always did 7p-7a. I got into OB 10 months out of school, and just left it to stay home with my daughter (I grad. school in 1987) . It's a great field of nursing...I knew very early on that I was not very good with seriously ill people. OB does have it's own kinds of challenges that you won't know about until you get there, but it is a VERY rewarding place to work. I have taken care of women I will rememeber all my life, and been involved in births I will not soon forget, both good and bad.
    I saw my first precipitous delivery in clinicals, saw high forceps done, and took care of my first fetal demise as a newbie in OB. I still remember those women.
    Go for it!! You won't regret it! Best of luck!
  10. by   SarahLovesNovember
    I know a lot of us newbies think of L & D as all mushy and holding babies, and yes, I realize that is not the truth but is the NICU the same? What is the difference between working in L & D and working the nursery or are they the same? I need some clarification between those three and exactly what is involved in their everyday job title. Thanks everyone!
  11. by   SmilingBluEyes
    NICU and L/D are NOT the same. NICU is an intensive care situation for babies and they are very sick. L/D patients are presumed well and healthy, undergoing a normal process of labor/delivery. YES, we have complicated and high risk cases, but L/D to me, in no way, necessarily prepares you for NICU work.

    IN the NICU, you will have to be prepared to deal with

    *Very sick babies
    *Micro-preemie care
    *Ethical situations that may challenge you greatly
    *VERY upset/nervous/angry/emotional or minimally-involved families of these babies (ask any NICU nurse, these folks, not always the babies, can be your biggest challenge)
    *LONG-TERM care of these kids----you will be bonded to some of them (L/D patients are gone in 24-72 hours).
    *Noisy and high-stress work environment

    It goes on and on. My advice is you go over to the NICU boards and ask them what they love/dislike about their jobs and decide what works for you best. Good luck.
  12. by   SarahLovesNovember
    Thank you so much. I appreciate your reply. I will go over to NICU boards and check it out further.
  13. by   Gompers
    For any newbie interested in nursing - don't worry too much about choosing a path at first. You don't really have to decide until after you finish nursing school and pass your state boards. In school, you might be able to take a special course in the area of your choice during your final year, but for the most part nursing school is pretty general. You'll get to experience all kinds of nursing, and things will make a lot more sense once you've spent time in different parts of the hospital. You'll spend a whole clinical rotation in OB/L&D and will probably spend a day or two observing in a NICU as well. When you find something that fits, you'll know it!

    Good luck!!!

    Last edit by Gompers on Feb 2, '06
  14. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Some students NEVER see the inside of a NICU. It really depends on clinical sites. I know I never did.

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