Published May 7, 2001
I will be starting my 2 year RN program in August and would like to find out more about the actual working environment. I had 2 babies within the past 2 years and know the patient's view, so I would like more input from the nurses side.
First of all, is there a lifting requirement? (I know hospitals vary) What kind of shifts do you all work? I know here the classifieds advertise 7-7 shifts, is this pretty standard. That's all I can think of right now.
I appreciate your input.
Hi, Wendy--and welcome to the war zone! As far as lifting--I don't think I have ever in L&D atually picked up a patient, but believe me, its pretty strenuous work. Do something we "old-timers" never do--use good body mechanics and bend your knees--it will make a world of difference.
The vast majority of L&D/LDR's work 12 hour shifts and thats a long 12 hours--as it is on any floor. Also, manyhospitals now want to rotate you thru not only L&D, but postpartum and mother-baby (Level 1 nursery- usually with not-sick babies) I think this is great, because it allows you to learn and teach--but be aware that many nurses who have worked one area or another only for years are resistant and sometimes downright nasty about being rotated, and MAY try to push off on you, the FNG, a lot of work. When we are new, we tend to be glad for that, because it CAN be a learning experience,--but you must learn to set limits.
If you love L&D you just love it, there's no explaining. And if you don't love it the very first time you are there--GET OUT and find another spevciality, because it doesn't "grow" on you!
I hope this has helped--stay in touch and let us know how things are going for you.
Amen majic65! I have had to lift a couple of patients. More often it seems to me, usually following a delivery or immediately post partum, a patient can feel dizzy or light headed and pass out...Always a good idea not to get them up alone the first time after delivery, or if they are able to tell you, learn how to ease them gently to the floor...If you are little, and they are big, well, you can see why that might be a problem...AND, as any of us will tell you, you can't always tell when some one is going to pass out because the patient often doesn't know until it happens.
Physically, in delivery , at least, I find doing McRoberts, that is, holding the legs up high while the patient is pushing, or someone who either didn't opt for an epidural or for some reason couldn't have one, can be physically demanding. Sometimes you ache afterwards, and people do bite, punch and kick so you learn pretty quickly to control the situation or get out of the way....That is not usually the rule of thumb, however....And it is true, if you love delivery, you really can't explain it...
Thank God the hospital I work at now is great with scheduling. They are so accomodating that there are 7-7 shifts, 7-3,3-11, partial shifts, and this is for am or pm. (My goal is to work 3a-11a). We have some nurses who come in at 3a or 5a as induction nurses. They start the scheduled inductions.
As for lifting and body strains, yes, I have lifted or rolled a pt. Both places a strain on your back. If you have FHTs down you're going to do whatever to help that baby. My back usually strains because I lean to far this way or that while we are pushing and my hand has to be you-know-where.
Follow your dreams, it sounds like you've been called to be an OB RN. Find a really good clinical site for your OB rotation (lots of deliveries) and you'll find out if you really want to become one or not.
Physically and mentally demanding BUT the most rewarding area of nursing I have ever practiced.
No two labors are exactly the same and the rule is to expect the unexpected. I agree--if OB doesn't immediately grab your heart then run like the wind. You do yourself and your patients a disservice by staying in this specialty if your are not committed to the cause.
Most hospitals work 12 hour shifts--it's a trade off. You only work 3 days/week versus 5-8 hour shifts. Sometimes when you're shift is 8 hours you end up being there 12 hours and the flip side is that 12 hours can sometimes end up being 14-16 hours......
Good luck making a decision!
I whole heartily (sp)? agree that OB HAS to be in your blood! There is too much pressure, highs and lows, and general stress to bear if you are unhappy. Do as the others have said and give it at least one full yr before making up your mind. It takes that long to get comfortable with this demanding specialty. Good Luck!
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