You can use your nursing skills to help moms to be if you’re an experienced registered nurse and attain specific certifications that establish your expertise in labor and delivery. Earning the distinction as a nurse working in this area requires patience and knowledge of obstetric issues that may occur during pregnancy.
In addition to being a registered nurse, you’ll also need to gain certification in inpatient obstetric nursing (RNC-OB). You can gain other certifications to work with high-risk patients. Aside from expertise, interpersonal communication skills, patience and a caring attitude are essential.
Become a Registered Nurse
Labor and delivery nurse schooling begins with a degree as a registered nurse. Most of these positions require a Bachelor of Science in nursing. This four-year program includes classes like pharmacology, anatomy and physiology, biology, psychology and nursing standards.
You’ll also engage in clinical rotations to learn about various types of nursing. Expect to observe clinical practice in family medicine, surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics, psychology and neurology. Practical learning sessions will teach you about intravenous therapy, taking vital signs and administering medications.
The culmination of this degree is the successful completion of the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).
Consider the Labor and Delivery Nurse Certification
Earning the National Certification Corporation in Inpatient Obstetric Nursing (RNC-OB) will establish your nursing expertise in labor and delivery. You’re eligible to take this labor and delivery nurse certification after completing two years of experience and at least 2,000 hours working directly with pregnant patients.
This practical experience will give you the breadth of knowledge required to earn a labor and delivery nurse certification. When you first begin your nursing career, apply for positions in hospitals that are seeking labor and delivery expertise or positions in an obstetric clinical setting.
Explore Other Specialty Certifications
If you’re interested in a subspecialty of nursing in labor and delivery, you can earn additional certifications. Options include:
- Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP)
- Neonatal Advanced Life Support (NALS)
- Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS)
- S.T.A.B.L.E Program
These specialty certifications can lead to more lucrative positions and the opportunity to work with high-risk patients.
Labor and Delivery Nurse Responsibilities
As a nurse working in labor and delivery, you’ll have the responsibility of monitoring the health and well-being of both mom and baby. Constant attention to detail is necessary to ensure that a laboring mother is progressing normally.
In the event of an emergency, quick action may be the difference between life and death for both mom and baby. In addition to vigilant medical attention, you’ll also serve as a calming force and an educator about newborn care and breastfeeding.
Enjoy the Labor and Delivery Nurse Salary
In 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average annual pay for registered nurses was $71,730, or $34.48 per hour. If you work more than 40 hours per week, your pay could significantly increase.
Similarly, serving as a lead charge nurse offers advanced pay options. California, Alaska, Oregon and Massachusetts offer the highest labor and delivery nurse salary options. The lowest salaries were reported in South Dakota, Iowa, Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama.
Expect Plentiful Job Opportunities
You can expect a 15 percent increase in labor and delivery jobs between now and 2026. If you earn additional certifications, you may find even greater job opportunities. Seniority will impact the hours that you work. Since nurses work around the clock, you may not have an ideal schedule when you first begin in this job.