Making the transition from Family Planning NP to L/D nurse~help!

Specialties Ob/Gyn


I've been a stay-at-home mom for the past few years, but prior to that I worked in a Health Department Family Planning Clinic for 13 years. I trained and am certified as an OB/GYN Nurse Practitioner, however I've never worked in OB. In fact, I haven't worked in a hospital at ALL since 1988, and that was in Neuro ICU. I have always had an interest in working with moms and babies, but for many reasons, I didn't want to leave my FP job. I finally did leave, but it was to stay home with my children, not to get another job.

Now that my youngest is 18 mos. and not breastfeeding as often, I feel like I'd like to work maybe one shift (occasionally 2 if needed) on the weekends when my husband can be home with the kids. I've put my application in to two local hospital LDRP units and spoken with the nurse managers who sounded positive about hiring me as a prn nurse.

I'm nervous! It's been so long since I've worked in a hospital, I've forgotten everything! And while I've done a zillion pelvic exams on non-pregnant (or barely pregnant) women, I haven't a clue about the dilating cervix! Do you think I will be able to learn what I need to learn with only working one 12 hr shift per week? I'm afraid the experienced nurses will expect more of me due to my NP certification.

Any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated!

Jolie, BSN

6,375 Posts

Specializes in Maternal - Child Health.

I doubt that you would be able to make the transition to L&D on a prn basis, and I'd be leery of any hospital that would be willing to let you try. I don't mean to discourage you, but it is a wide-ranging specialty which takes 1-2 years of full-time employment to develop expertise.

Would you consider mother-baby or post-partum? Your background in the clinic would dove-tail nicely with all the teaching these patients require. And without the added demands of learning OR, ACLS, recovery, fetal monitoring, and NRP, it is probably a more realistic goal. After you get your feet wet in maternity and your kids are older, affording you more time, then go for L&D. Good luck! You'll be an asset!

Hmmm, that's kind of what I was afraid of. I wouldn't mind working post-partum at all, but I don't think they have separate post-partum rooms. I'm not exactly sure how the staffing is set up in these 2 hospitals, but I know they are all LDRP rooms. I think they might have some nurses who only do the newborn care and others who take care of the moms, but I'm not sure. I'll have to find out more when (if) I interview. Nursery sounds great too~I love babies. So much that I had 5 of my own, lol!

Do you think it would be doable if I worked 2 shifts each weekend (or maybe alternated~1 shift one weekend, and 2 shifts the next)? They are 12 hour shifts, not just 8 hours.


288 Posts

I agree with Jolie. It would be difficult to learn a specialty unit in a prn position. I know our new hires, go through 6-8 weeks of orientation, longer if they don't feel comfortable. perhaps if you were able to put in more hours during an orientation period, you would be able to absorb more.

Good luck.


1,804 Posts

Best of luck to you. Wow w/ 5 kids, you'll have a lot to offer patients both personally and professionally. Sometimes, I toy w/ the idea of becoming a CNM, but the well woman pelvics scare me. I'd be afraid I'd miss feeling a mass or something. Good luck in your pursuits!


630 Posts

Specializes in OB, Telephone Triage, Chart Review/Code.

I took a break from Nursing (burnt out from L&D and other personal reasons) for 5 years. One hospital will not hire me unless I take a nurse refresher course or work for one year in nursing. I did find a position out-of-town in PP and have been there almost a year.

Good luck in finding what you are looking for.

Thank you all for your responses, I do appreciate your input. I received a call from the 1st hospital to which I sent my application; they asked me to come for an interview. It's set up for tomorrow afternoon. I will be sure to ask lots of questions about their orientation program. I'm very excited, and I hope I can become a valuable part of their team!

If anyone else has advice for me, I'd love to hear it--both the positive and the negative!

Sue :)

WooHoo! I had my interview with the nurse manager at the 1st hospital, and it went really well! Sounds like they will be hiring me for "couplet care" ~ postpartum mom/baby. She said that later I have the option of cross-training for L/D and/or the intermediate care nursery. She said they have about 700 births per year and can deliver moms from 34wks and up; other higher-risk moms are transferred out.

I'm so excited!

kastas, BSN, RN

137 Posts

Specializes in Labor and Delivery.

:balloons: Congratulations! :balloons: You will be a real asset to their team!

Maybe on slow nights you could hook up w/ a labor nurse. I did this before orienting to L&D and it was a life saver. I went into my orientation very comfortable with my SVE's and reading strips.

Good luck!

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