Question about orientation

Specialties Ob/Gyn


I'm new to this board, and I have a few questions. You all seem so helpful from what I have read so far. I am an ADN student, and I will graduate in December (about a month after my 41st birthday :)) . I feel strongly drawn to L&D, but I also feel VERY nervous about it. We have had one OB class/clinical, but our only experiences were in postpartum and healthy newborn care, and even that provided pretty minimal experience. I know that new grads do get hired for OB in my area. My understanding is that they are hired for postpartum and newborn care, initially, and then train for L&D on the job. I intend to do my internship in L&D if possible. I'm wondering what on-the-job orientation for L&D is like. Is the new grad given adequate opportunity to observe/assist before being given a lot of responsibility. I don't want to sound like I'm afraid of responsibility, but I know that there is a LOT to know about L&D, and I really want to feel like I know what I'm doing before I'm on my own, so to speak.

I appreciate any insights I can get.



378 Posts

see2mee--I was very interested in L&D nursing as well when I graduated my ADN program 18 years ago (I am 42) but they did not allow male RNs to work in L&D even though every OB/GYN doctor on staff was male as well as the neonatologist.

I can't speak about L&D but I can about other specialty care units such as ICU, CCU, ER, CVR, etc. since I have worked in those areas. Especially these days, it is rare to see an adequate orientation because it is not valued as it should be by administration. My experiences have been that you have to learn much of it through on-the-job-training, self-study, and pursuing a certification in your chosen area of nursing. My experience has indicated that the level of responsibility you are given as a new grad depends a lot on your coworkers, nurse manager, DON, and the general nursing philosophy at your hospital as well as administrative support. I have worked in hospitals where my coworkers were so uncaring and unsupportive it was like swimming with sharks, they were just waiting to see you fail and would not help. They actually resented me asking questions and not knowing stuff. On the other hand, I have worked in units where my coworkers went out of their way to teach me, help me and so on. And then I have worked in a hospital where there was a long, in-depth orientation for general nursing, and then more orientation in my specialty area, about 16 weeks in all. I think that is a thing of the past.

My suggestion and encouragement is to go into it with a positive, "I can do this" attitude, learn all you can, study on your own at home, watch videos, go to seminars, be like a sponge and gain the self-confidence that comes from adequate knowledge very quickly. Surprisingly for me, one of the best sources of information, mentoring, and teaching were the doctors!! Many of them love to teach and share their knowledge (my theory is if feeds their ego). It also helps build a good rapport with them and can make your job much mor enjoyable.

Good luck with it and stay confident in your ability to do your job and learn what you need to learn to be effective.


20,964 Posts

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis.

I Have replied to many threads of late along the same lines. My words are the same:

Make sure you have NRP (neonatal resuscitation program)

Get to some fetal heart monitoring workshops by AWHONN, Michelle Murray, or Harvey-Troiano , etc. (ask nurse mgr about these)

Be a sponge; watch/take in all around you. Find a mentor and stick with him/her as you learn. Don't be afraid to jump in and try ---you have to DO to learn in OB, just like any nursing.

Ask questions-----ask ask ask----don't be afraid; no question is stupid or trivial. NEVER pretend to know what you don't. People like that are dangerous and I don't trust them. I would prefer someone ask me a 1000 questions than do that.

Enjoy the ride. 99% of the time OB is a happy place to work--a distinct advantage. But when things go bad they go VERY bad. Be prepared ----anticipate the worst and HOPE for the BEST.

Good luck to you! Read the threads archived here---there is a LOT of advice to newbies before you that you can see and learn from. Best wishes.


20 Posts

Thank you, both, for your advice and encouragement. I will definitely ask tons of questions. I'm not one of those people who can't admit they don't know something. I agree. That's very dangerous. I will look into NRP and workshops. I'm also going to talk to my OB instructor, when I go back to school in August, and see what she can recommend. I am really looking forward to my internship at the end of the fall semester. I'm sure I'll feel a lot better just getting my feet wet and having an opportunity to learn a lot more.


Catherine :)


20,964 Posts

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis.

good luck, catherine!


20 Posts

Thank you, Deb. I appreciate it. :)



124 Posts

ainz and SmilingBlueEyes have given beautiful advice. Self Motivation is what it takes to be a great nurse. No matter what sharks are swimming in the pool, it is ALWAYS about the patient. The PATIENT and her safety should always be your main focus. The best gift you can give your patients is a good and continuing education. You can have the best orientation in the world and the longest one... and never see it all. Sometimes it takes years to have a certain experience...but if you are not self motivated and into continuing education opportunities, you will be able to handle anything that comes your way even if you are only seeing it for the first time.

Take ownership for your orientation by following the above advice and communicate your needs to your manager on a regular basis so that she/he can help you achieve your goals. Don't be afraid to "dig in"!

As far as the "sharks" in nursing- yes, they are out there for sure! They are everywhere. See the good in them and focus on that and you will be amazed at what happens... :-)

One last is totally NORMAL to have a mild amount of fear for the first year in L&D. Those that do not have it really scare me...

Best of luck,


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