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Duties of OB nurses (and others) Please feel free to add!


Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis. Has 24 years experience.

For the benefit of new nurses and future/prospective OB/GYN nurses and doulas, midwives, others, thought I would try a sticky that discusses various duties/skills sets and other characteristics that make a "good", well-rounded OB nurse, doula, midwife or other professional dealing with Women's Health Issues. This question seems to come up now and again, so let's help em out.

I will start. Here are skills sets for OB nurses that I found apply in most areas. Again feel free to add to this; I want to learn as well!



Inbound facility tranfer unit

Outbound transfer to other facility

Identify fetal position (Leopold maneuvers)

Fetal heart tones

Severity of contractions

Vaginal exam, dilitation & effacement

Vaginal exam, station & presentation

Vaginal exam, culture collection


Set up tocotransducer

Intrauterine pressure catheter

Auscultate fetal heart tones

Intact/nonintact membranes

Nitrazine test

Internal fetal monitor

Interpreting normal/abnormal fetal heart patterns

Baseline interpretation

Early decelerations

Beat to beat variability

Late decelerations

Prolonged decelerations

Set up OB pack

Set up baby pack

Cord blood collection

Artificial rupture of membranes


Pregnancy Induced Hypertension




Abruptio placenta

Placenta previa

Prolapsed cord




Premature rupture of the membranes

Premature labor

Magnesium sulfate

Drug dependent

RH incompatibility





Blood transfusion

Forceps delivery

Vacuum extraction

Precipitous delivery

Gestational Diabetes/Diabetes and its sequalae

Starting IV's

Cesarean section-circulate

Cesarean section-scrub

Central line placement, set up & assist

Epidural, set up & assist

Spinal, set up & assist

Local, set up & assist

Foley catheter placement

Pain control, narcotic

Intrathecal medication delivery

Episiotomy, set up & assist

Uterine massage

Lochia assessment


Induction of labor


Prostaglandin supp

Oxytocin infusion


Relaxation/breathing techniques

Premature labor prevention

Phone triage


Labor coaching/support for birthing mother/family

Neonatal assessment/resuscitation as needed

Breastfeeding initiation/support/ongoing teaching

Self-care and baby care once you go home

Care of any surgical wounds/therapies

After-care telephone triage (answering questions once a new family has gone home)


Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis. Has 24 years experience.

Doulas, midwives, nursing students and other professionals, please feel free to add commentary and suggestions!


Specializes in ER, Tele, L&D. ICU. Has 9 years experience.

I cannot even think of anything to add-that is a *very* comprehensive list-but I will think....(my lady is currently laboring down and I am on a break )


Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis. Has 24 years experience.

well if you do, please feel free to add!

Wow, we do alot. Impressive list Deb.

We don't circulate or scrub though. We are the baby nurse however.


I thought of one:

ADVOCATE FOR THE PATIENT. It is ultimately her delivery.

ragingmomster, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in many. Has 25 years experience.

Under the heading of advocate, how about a subcategory of Martyr? Early on in labor I offer myself as the proverbial lamb to the slaughter.

IE> I find a moment to talk to the mom alone to ask her specifically if there is a family dynamic I should be aware of and offer to throw myself under the bus if intervention is needed. Pushy grandparents to be, "friends" who arrive to observe the miracle, etc.

ragingmomster, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in many. Has 25 years experience.

Oh, Oh, two more, Research-not a week goes by that I am not looking for more info; and Delivery of infants- not that I wanted to, but without an MD in the room, it happens.;)

I hear you on delivery. In my current job I deliver because I volunteer and most doctors are more than happy to accommodate, but in a previous hospital that I was moonlighting at, the doctors would typically not arrive for delivery, especially after hours, due to several reasons, . 1)since it was downtown, most doctor's homes were at least 30 minutes or more away from hospital. 2)it was not safe to travel to this location after dark. 3)most patients were multiparous so lots of times they didn't have time, even if they wanted to,unless they stayed at hospital (which they didn't).

Add to list of duties: train and supervise interns, coordinator of multidiscilpinary care.

Forgot to add: train and keep an eye on family practice interns, residents, and staff.


Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis. Has 24 years experience.

Excellent additions guys. Keep em coming!

Kiwi Ali

Specializes in Practice Nursing, Postnatal Nursing.

Hi, I'm an RN, i work permanent 12 hr nights in a birthing unit at a small rural hospital. There is one of us on duty at a time :-). We can assist the LMC (lead maternity carer) in labour and delivery, as she directs. We are mainly here for postnatal care of well mums and bubs. Typically on this unit, in fact in a lot of hospitals in NZ, there are NO doctors at delivery. Most women choose to have an LMC during their pregnancy, and get all their A/N care from her, then they will meet up with said LMC at the hospital (or home) when birth is imminent. Anything other than a 'normal' pv delivery is transferred out. The occaisonal breech and twin birth has been delivered here. We (the LMC) can offer gas, pethidine or water for pain relief.

We have two delivery beds, a birthing pool and 4 postnatal beds, plus a day bed for use when A/N's come in for monitoring or assessment, and this bed can also be utilised if ward fills up.

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