It used to be that L&D units only hired experienced nurses-but that's not necessarily true anymore. In many areas of the country, chronic understaffing, even in L&D, is causing unit managers to consider that it may be in their best interest to "grow their own" (hire new grads and train them how they want their nurses to be). After all, this eliminates hearing "well-at such and such hospital, I always did it this way..."! And, many nurse managers will consider you strongly if they see that you are truly enthusiastic and dedicated to L&D. Externships are usually coordinated between a school and a hospital. Often, you apply and go through a screening process, then, if chosen, work as a nurse extern in the hospital a certain number of hours. This, of course, can increase your chances of being hired into L&D as a new grad. Another option (which I did), is to approach your nsg faculty, and see if it's possible to do an "independent study" in L&D, with clinical experience. You will write up your own goals and plan of action-and meet those goals through clinical experience. I would recommend really getting to know your stuff in the field you are interested in-join AWHONN, attend some OB conferences if possible. See if a local hospital will let you sit in on some of their educational in-services re: L&D. As far as being hired as a new grad-often, the best chance would be with a large, teaching hospital, because they are more likely to have a high turnover, and they are set up for...teaching! But I wouldn't give up on talking to the nurse managers of smaller hospitals if that's what you know you want to do. Pure enthusiasm can work wonders! The best advice to hold onto is-don't give up! GOOD LUCK!!!