Becoming an L&D nurse; best case scenario

  1. I hoping to get a position in L&D in early 2007. I was a lay childbirth educator for a few years, and taught for an area hospital before getting my RN. I also attended several births as a support person. Although L&D was my first love, I went straight to a med-surg floor for experience, disliked it and left nursing for a variety of reasons. After being out of nursing for 10 years, I'm taking a refresher course. I've purchased several texts on Maternal Child nursing, fetal heart monitoring, etc. and I'm studying on my own.

    As labor and delivery nurses, what experience would you ideally like to see or think is most beneficial for a nurse to have before coming into L&D. I'll throw a few things out as options, but please add your thoughts:

    1. A year or two of med surg experience
    2. A year or two of postpartum experience
    3. A year or two of nursery experience
    4. A year or two working in an OB-GYN office

    On this topic, I called a hospital to sign up for a fetal monitoring class. They took my name, gave me the date, etc., but called me back later to say that the class was only for those who had worked L&D for six months. I can sort of understand that, but at the same time it did seem like a great opportunity was lost to prepare a nurse for entry into the field. Your thoughts?
  2. Visit Elisheva profile page

    About Elisheva

    Joined: Aug '06; Posts: 202; Likes: 12


  3. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Here is just my take:

    I would suspect most places MUCH prefer 1-2 years' acute care experience, meaning HOSPITAL INPATIENT NURSING experience. I personally think med-surg, ED, and ICU/CCU nurses make EXCELLENT OB nurses. So, often, do prior nursery or NICU nurses. And post-partum is a very logical first step, if you can get a job in such a unit!

    Office/clinic experience alone, while really valuable, it not usually sufficient for most OB nurse managers to consider a candidate for L/D nursing in their departments. Really, you want inpatient acute care experience. It helps you learn to prioritize/organize your day and care of patients, teaches you how to "think on your feet", handle emergent medical cases as they come up, and function efficiently and safely in the hospital environment.


    If you can get a job in any acute care area of the hospital, especially, med-surg, ICU/CCU, ED, etc (and yes, they do hire new grads or people out of the hospital for a while, in some of these areas, as well as some in OB) then that is a good thing. IF you can secure a job in OB right out of school, that is good *IF* you have good and thorough orientation and preceptorship or residency (at least 6mo to a year is best, for new grads or people with zero OB experience)----then go for it.

    And yes, having taken NRP and FHM classes may be very helpful. However, I don't expect FHM classes to be too useful for you unless you're working in OB already. A lot of it just would not make sense. Being an AWHONN member, IMO is a plus, also.

    I hope this helps.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Sep 26, '06
  4. by   Elisheva
    I did join AWHONN even though I'm no where close to being in L&D yet. And I do have two years of med-surg experience, although it's been 10 years (hence the refresher course).

    Thanks for your feedback. It's really helpful.
  5. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Yes I noticed you said you had M/S experience--and amended my post a bit. That is a real plus, even if it's been a while. Really, you sound like a good candidate. But if you can't get into PP or nursery, you may have to spend a few months in another area, til your ship comes in. GOOD LUCK!
  6. by   CEG
    In my area new grads are frequently hired into L&D so I would think someone with your experience and "maturity" (LOL- I am older than most of my classmates) as well as previous birth work would be a great candidate.

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