we function in many ways:
We admit and triage all patients over 20 weeks' gestation for a number of things.....to rule out labor, assess for problems such as hypertension, fetal distress and/or non reassuring status, preterm labor/rupture of membranes, etc. We determine if they need admission, call the doctors and get orders for what they need, e.g. hydration, medication to stop preterm labor, admit and care for active labor, etc.
Once admitted, we monitor and treat according to patient/fetal status. We are responsible for monitoring the strips and treating accordingly. We do cervical checks and also speculum exams to determine membrane status (to rule out rupture of membranes in cases where it is not clear if they are ruptured or not).
We start all IV's (if needed), do lab draws, etc. We are responsible for placing any catheters and internal monitors (IUPC/ FSE) if needed, as well. We assist the anesthesiologist when starting epidural, spinal or intrathecal anethesia. It's up to us to monitor patient status (as well as fetal) throughout the placement of the anesthesia, as well as afterward. Complications can and do arise and it is up to us to catch them early on and treat as needed (or call the MD if there is a serious problem).
We are responsible from beginning to end of the patient stay for educating them on all manner of subjects, from the pregnancy and its changes, to labor/delivery progress to post partum care. We initiate breastfeeding with the moms, usually in the first 30 minutes after birth and help them learn to breastfeed all throughout their stay with us. It's up to us to determine if serious problems that exist as barriers to breastfeeding to get help for the moms, to include our Lactation Consultant or put them in touch with LaLecheLeague if they are at home.
We triage by telephone often, as well. People call for all manner of things from wondering if they may be in labor to having huge breastfeeding problems at night and in tears.
We are present for every delivery, including midwife ones. Our function there is to assist, set up equipment, help mothers w/pushing, positioning, etc. and help fathers/family members be involved in the process. It's up to us to monitor all the machinery involved as well. When delivery is over, we clean up the patient as well as tidy up the room and remove all unnecessary equipment.
As said earlier, we help initiate breastfeeding. We usually have a 2nd nurse in the room for each delivery to "catch" the baby and assess him/her and give all meds, etc. This nurse may be the one helping w/breastfeeding while the other cleans up.
In the case of a csection, it's our job to wheel Mom back to the OR, skin and shave prep her and assist anesthesia to get things going. We circulate the case then, getting whatever is needed as the case is done. A 2nd nurse goes to take care of the baby. We then wheel mom back and do a PAR recovery in her room, meaning, we stay with the mom and baby for a full hour, doing every 5 minute vital signs and assessing her recovery, as well as getting breastfeeding going.
It goes on and on, I tried to paint a bit of a clear picture of what we do on a day to day basis. the thing that gets most annoying is all the darn PAPERWORK, MOUNTAINS OF IT------that takes up HOURS and HOURS Of our time. That is anywhere in nursing, and the most frustrating thing about what we do. And it seems, more comes every year. OB is one of the most litigious areas of nursing, so you can bet we are charting for the lawyers.....
HTH! I LOVE WHAT I DO, really! Being part of new life and families being born is a privelege and honor to me, I try not to take it for granted!!!
The paperwork is the biggest pain in my work. MOUNTAINS OF IT, so much that sometimes I feel it gets in the way of providing the care I want.