Pros and cons of working in L&D

  1. I'm graduating in May. I have always believed that I would graduate and go right into L&D. For some odd reason, I'm beginning to doubt myself. What are the pros and cons for working in L&D? What do you like or dislike about your job? Any input would be greatly appreciated.
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    About Katydidit34

    Joined: Aug '04; Posts: 251; Likes: 3


  3. by   HappyNurse2005
    cons first, b/c they are much fewer:

    1. dead babies. that's the biggest con. 18 week demises, or the 39 week demises. they all really, really suck.

    2. hateful patients. doesn't happen often, but occasionally you get really hateful people.

    3. crazy life situations that make you sad a baby is going into that family. like teenagers on their 2nd and third babies, cocaine use, father of baby married to someone else, etc etc

    4. bad things happening to good people. the sweetest nicest people who have preterm labor and sick babies

    the pro's

    1. it is so much fun.
    2. you never know what to expect, or what will happen next
    3. watching people become parents for the first time
    4. seeing dads cry...makes me cry
    5. helping someone when they are in pain/vulnerable/etc. giving them confidence that they really can do this.
    6. its so much fun!
  4. by   deehaverrn
    Cons. -same as previous poster..especially if you are assigned to someone with a fetal demise AND someone having a healthy baby at the same time, its way too emotionally draining.
    -somehow those in administration often aren't familiar with L +D, so they go along with the misconception that it is not really work, cause everyone is happy etc. so they under staff us even more than other areas
    - even though you have a PACU and frequently have to resuscitate babies, there is no specialty pay like ICU and the regular PACU have
    - other areas are constantly turfing problems to you, any time a woman is pregnant, no matter what her problem the ECU will send them right up to be evaluated (sorry but acute chest pain does NOT belong in my triage
    - EXTREMELY physically demanding, moving equipment, stretchers, and 300 lb women around by yourself, right now we have 3 nurses working with limitations due to back and neck injuries, one who is recovered after a fusion, and one who was recently terminated because the hospital claims her back injury did not occur at work (she's fighting it), may have to be on your feet (also a common problem with much of our staff having foot surgeries) for 12 hours straight and not get a break the whole time, may have to hold woman's legs for 3 hours while she's pushing, may have to attend to her in jacuzzi (at floor level so you're squatting constantly) and then quickly lift her out when fhts are down., may have pts grab your hands, arms, etc when they are in pain or angry
    --at high risk for exposure to pathogens from blood and body fluids, you name it we've got it, have seen someone's water break and caregiver get amniotic fluid in her eyes from HIV+ pt, got blood in my eyes despite having full protective mask with eye shield on, have been sprayed with bllood from across the room during delivery, amniotic fluid on myself too many times to count, pt abrupting in hallway when assisting with ambulation-both of us covered in bllood "Carrie" fashion and couldn't wash immediatelly cause trying to save her and baby, well you get the idea..
    Disrespect, Overwork, Low pay..are the same as most other areas of Nursing.
    Benefits are obvious. We get to be a part of what to most is the most amazing, unforgettable, day of their lives. We definitely can make a huge difference in their experience. Every time I am at a birth (and unfortunately since I've had a back injury it has been over a year now), I am humbled by what a miracle it truly have first a pregnant woman and moments later two separate people. I am astounded that some people can't see that they have actually been two separate people for a long time, its just that one was dependant on the other for sustenance. Once you have held a 17 week gestation baby in your hands (born because of an incompetant cervix), and seen that baby tryng to live, actually moving its arms and legs while its poor little heart is beating more and more slowly because its lungs just aren't ready...but it is soo perfectly formed, you just can't understand how anyone can say that this is not a human life at all.
    Anyway, I have both loved and hated my job. Most of the hate however, has come from an administration that refuses to give us the proper pay, staffing and resources. And from management that plays favorites with assignments and schedules.
    If I had it to do over again, despite how I have loved my patients, and done my absolute best for them., I would never choose nursing. The time taken from my family--missed school events, weekends working instead of famly outings, holidays without mom,. The fact that in another profession I would have been rewarded so much more in pay and benefits, as well as early retirement in some cases. The most though is that presently I am in constant pain from injuring my back at work, and this is impacting every aspect of my life. I truly believe that the stress of my job is going to have long lasting effects on my health even if I recover from the back problems.
    If I repeat the past, I would choose to go into a profession where I could help others but in a different way. Maybe in education or law enforcement where they realize that after 20 years, you just can't do everything like when you were younger.
    Sorry I got off track there.
    Oh also, you have to consider the highly litiginous aspect of OB. Testifiying in court is not my idea of fun. And people sue for poor outcomes even when you did your best, and actually did every single thing exactly right. Even when your actions saved them and their baby. But if the child has a learning deficit years later, they can find a lawyer who will take you to court. Luckily in my case they didn't win. But you never know with a jury, and it stiil took way too much time and effort.
    Oh wow, I'm not vey encouraging tonight.
  5. by   CMCRN
    I love Happynurse's answer, It's so much fun! It is! I am rarely ever bored at work. You can change it up so much with a high volume unit especially that it is always different. Circulate C-section, Scrub C-section, work triage,work antepartum, do labor, even do charge.
  6. by   whartonjelly
    You will find that it seems every pt and family member lie about real names, drugs, whose is married, who is the father of the baby etc.

    Family members always want you to bend the rules for their special daughter. flu season limts vhildren as vistitors. People will sneak sick kids in coughing and hacking.

    The govt pts always have money for fast food cig and cell phones and video cameras. Lying to get more freebies. I dont think that I am good at tolerating the pts and their families anymore. I just tell them dead babys are no fun.
  7. by   Katydidit34
    I really appreciate all of your comments. This is exactly what I was looking for, unabashed, no holds barred, thoughts and feelings about the job. I realize that there is an upside and a downside to everything but when you have an idea of what you think something is in your head, it's very hard to see what the reality of it might be. This is just what I needed, the good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of what being and L&D nurse is like. Thanks for taking the time to answer my post. It has really helped.