Can you not be Type A and be a good nurse in L&D?


I am a student nurse, finishing up my maternity rotation. I am somewhat surprised that I am considering L&D for my preceptorship because I've heard it's for Type A personalities (and my clinical instructor describes herself that way) and also that you should be the kind of person who loves stress. I am not Type A and I don't love stress! But many nursing jobs are stressful, aren't they? Is L&D with 2 patients more stressful than med/surg with 5 patients? I do know that things can turn quickly in L&D (I witnessed an urgent c-section last week).

So, can someone like me, not a Type A, do well in L&D? If it matters, nursing is my second career and I've been an L&D patient three times!

klone, MSN, RN

14,484 Posts

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership. Has 17 years experience.

IME, the people that do the best in L&D have a keen attention to fine detail, as well as a warm, caring personality. So much of L&D is "mothering" the woman in labor, offering support and encouragement. You can be a *good* labor nurse without that nurturing personality, but you won't be a *great* one.


127 Posts

I'm type Z lol. Let the pieces fall where they may! Stress is a relative thing. Learning any specialty comes with stress. A nurse and I started in L&D together and she quit because it was too stressful. I felt the same stress (learning a busy unit) and stuck it out. That stress is replaced by new stresses as I learn and have a challenging patient. You have to have organizational skills in any unit and you will learn what you need to do to stay organized for yourself. What I really want say is that you do NOT have 2 patients on L&D. You might have 2 laboring mothers, but that means you have 2 more "invisible" patients who are stressed out and have potential problems that can occur at any second. All you have to ensure they are healthy is an electronic fetal monitor and your hands on mom's belly. There are a multitude of things that can go wrong and it literally take seconds but can potentially lead to harm (short or long term and even up to death) of either one of your patients. So, that is stressful. Also, you have an unpredictable day; a woman can drop in ready to give birth, sometimes with no prenatal care, or very preterm and you may have to deal with that with no doctor present. And sometimes the woman is giving birth to an already deceased baby. So, type A isn't as important as understanding that the stress we deal with is not quite the same as a medical floor (although as women give birth older, they DO have medical issues as well). Important to have the ability to be flexible, understanding, and open to learning.


8 Posts

All kinds of nurses and "personalities" work in L&D! This specialty requires that nurses adapt to rapidly changing and stressful situations. My shifts never end the way they begin, and it's important that you are able to go with the flow and do what is needed of you to help out your team and provide stellar patient care. At the same time, this is a very litigious area because when things go wrong, they can go very wrong. So as a nurse, you need to make sure your charting is accurate and detailed, and that you are paying close attention to even subtle changes in your patients' condition. I work LDRP, so at any given time my unit is like an ER, ICU, OR, and med/surg floor. This area can be stressful and draining, but man is it exciting and rewarding too. If you are interested in women's health and want to be there for families during the most terrifying, vulnerable, and wonderful moments of their lives, you should definitely consider this for your preceptorship.

Specializes in L&D. Has 54 years experience.

I was a labor nurse for 45 years, no way am I a Type A personality. I'm more of a gow with the flow kinda gal. Everyone has mentioned things going wrong, and that does happen, but the majority of the time things go well. Birth is not a disease, it is a normal physiological event. Yes we are always on the lookout for bad things to happen, but most of our work is about promoting the normal course of labor. We need all types of personalities in labor. If you think that's the area for you, go for it.


93 Posts

You can work anywhere regardless of your personality. Certain personalities are more common on specific units, and maybe there are some pairing that work well, but you can work anywhere you want regardless of your personality.