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Role of the nurse in the L&D area

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by Happychic Happychic (Member)

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I had posted this somewhere else and haven't gotten a response so thought i'd post here as well.

I have my first rotation in the l&d department next week and am wanting to be as prepared as possible. Does anyone know what the nurses role in that department is? I'll be following an RN.

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The role of the nurse in the L&D area consists of a lot of teaching, pain management, and assessment. The teaching and assessments are top priorities (in my opinion) because many women are first time mothers who have never cared for a newborn before. They need to know things like how to care for a circumcision, when to call the doctor, how to bathe the baby, etc. Good assessment skills are essential too because you have to be able to distinguish between a boggy and a firm fundus, assess the amount and characteristic of the lochia, check for a Homan's sign, signs and symptoms of eclampsia, etc. I did my L&D rotation at a large medical center, and we had to care for the newborn as well as the mother. The newborn assessments are very in depth as well and are performed hourly as opposed to once a shift, which is another reason why good assessment skills are a must. In my opinion, it was awkward at first to care for these patients because most of the time they are not sick, they are well, but they need encouragement, support, and comforting all the same. Hope that helps you out a little.

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Daytonite has 40 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt.

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in labor and delivery you are going to be working with women who are in various stages of labor up to and including delivery of the baby. while in labor the patients are assessed by the staff nurses as to how their labor is progressing. the baby is often assessed with fetal monitoring equipment. mothers to be are assisted by the nurses in managing their pain. this could include breathing and relaxation techniques, massage, and medications. epidural anesthesia is also commonly used. to move labor along the amniotic membranes may be surgically ruptured or an infusion of oxytocin may be started. the staff nurses and doctors will frequently assess the progression of labor by performing manual vaginal exams to assess the progression of effacement and dilation of the cervix. as the baby is about to be born an episiotomy may or may not be done. if there are any problems such as fetal distress, dystocia, pre-eclampsia with increasing hypertension, a prolapsed cord, or some sort of malpresentation of the fetus, the patient will be taken to an or suite for a cesarean section. the baby is immediately assessed upon delivery.

i've given you a very informative link to an ob website for nursing students. i've included the link for labor and delivery, but at the top of each webpage are links to the other pages in the website. read your ob textbook as well. your instructor is going to expect you to know what normal labor and delivery are as well as the three stages of labor.

http://www.childbirths.com/euniversity/mainpage.htm - main page of ob website for students. links are around the globe with the site logo, euniversity. the page on labor and delivery is here: http://www.childbirths.com/euniversity/laboranddeliveryskills.htm - labor and delivery skills.

http://complab.nymc.edu/obgyn/labor%20-%20normal%20and%20abnormal.pdf - slide show presentation of normal and abnormal labor that includes some very nice photographs and drawings

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