Towards a career in labour and delivery. Words of wisdom PLEASE!!

  1. Hello nurses!

    I'm a BScN of 6 months. My 9 week 4th year preceptorship was in labour and delivery, but since graduation I've been working on a medical unit. I've liked it okay, but I know that I want to be in a maternal/child area. I've applied for several postpartum and L&D positions and I FINALLY got a telephone interview for L&D! I'm very excited.... and TERRIFIED! I'm somewhat nervous about the interview. I know I'll need to study, but the really unnerving part is that the nurse manager wants me to ask questions about what she's like as a manager... hmmm...

    Do you have any suggestions?

    The other thing that's got me in a sweat is the prospect of actually working in Labour and Delivery. I know it's what I want, but it's got me so scared. I imagine they will have a mentoring program (if they don't I'm not sure that I would take the job), and that they will make sure I get certified in neonatal resuss. and fetal monitoring ASAP, but it's the day-to-day that I'm nervous about.

    I would like to hear from other L&D nurses about how they felt starting out in this very high-stress area. Is it normal to be so nervous, or is this a sign that it's not the right area for me? Does anyone have suggestions about how to prime myself for this setting change so early out of nursing school?

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    About IslandtrainedRN

    Joined: Oct '06; Posts: 25; Likes: 1


  3. by   RNLaborNurse4U
    It's perfectly normal to be nervous and even ambivalent about a new position/field in nursing.

    Some specific questions that you could ask about the nurse-manager (if this is what she's looking for)....How long have you been the manager at that L&D? What experience did you come to that unit with - background in management, background in bedside nursing? Do you help out on the unit when it's busy, and extra nursing staff is needed? What are your expectations for a new nurse/new grad on the unit? What kind of preceptor/orientation process have you formulated for your new nurses/new grads (matching up of preceptor to orientee...lenght of orientation)? How do you evaluate each new nurses progress during orientation? How are annual reviews/evaluations done....peer review versus management review?

    Other general unit/staffing questions...... how many births do you have per month? How many doctors/midwives work in the unit? How large is your nursing staff? How many beds does the unit have? Are they LDR or LDRP rooms? Do you do c/s on the unit, or do they go off to the main OR? Does the nursing staff on the unit staff the c/s, or do other OR staff come up to do them? Do you have onsite anesthesiologists, or do they need to come in from home? What is your c/s rate? What is your epidural rate? How long do the majority of the nurses work on the unit? (x number of years....if they're there for many years, it shows it's a great unit for nurses) How is scheduling done (self scheduling, versus someone else makes up the schedule)? Are shifts flexible, done on a rotating basis, etc? Does the unit have self-governance? Are policies and protocols clearly spelled out on the unit? Who is the chief of obstetrics? The chief of neonatalogy? How does your chain of command work? What opportunies does the unit present the nurses for continuing medical/nursing education? Do they have a nursing ladder....where you work up to higher levels of nursing in the unit? <-- this last one you should try and research before going to the interview, as well as any other information about the hospital/unit that you can gather on your own. It shows interest and initiative!!!

    These are just some I thought of, off the top of my head.

    The more questions you come prepared with to the interview, the better. It shows your genuine interest in the unit, and will help make you stand out in the mind of the manager when it comes time for her to make hiring decisions.

    SHOW ENTHUSIASM! Discuss about how L&D was your favorite rotation in school, and that you are excited to learn how to be a great L&D nurse. Be confidence in your ability to learn new things...because you will learn a whole new world of information and nursing skills...things they do not teach you in nursing school. The unit will be making sure that you receive all certifications needed to work there - neonatal resusc, CPR renewal, fetal monitoring, etc. as part of your orientation process. But you can also ask about how these are done as well...either on the unit, or at outside sources/classes, etc. (ex: my fetal monitoring course was a 2 day seminar at another hospital, paid for by my was recommended, but not required. I grabbed the chance to go take it...and the unit paid for it too!)
  4. by   IslandtrainedRN
    That is fantastic information. Thank you so so much!