Labor and delivery nurses monitor both mother and baby during childbirth, and in some cases are the first to provide care to the newborn. When evaluating labor and delivery nurse candidates during interviews, recruiters often consider not only experience and technical knowledge, but also each applicant’s passion for the job and her ability to think quickly during stressful and sometimes critical moments.
Like all nursing fields, labor and delivery nursing requires excellent people and communication skills, empathy and the ability to collaborate with fellow nurses and other health care staff. Interviewers will likely ask why you chose this specialty, what you most like and dislike about it, and why you want to work at their facility. They may also inquire about your greatest strengths and weaknesses, and ask for examples of times when you successfully worked as part of a team. Employers are seeking someone who will fit in with rest of the team and who can relate to everyone from worried family members to physicians.
When discussing your work history, prepare for questions addressing everything from why you left your last job to what you most liked or disliked about the position and the organization. Job titles and responsibilities can only tell employers so much, so they’ll want to hear from you what you’ve learned from your time in the delivery room and what contributions you made at your previous jobs. For example, they may ask about the most challenging case you’ve encountered and how you handled it.
Brush up on your technical knowledge before the interview, because recruiters will likely want to assess your clinical skills. This could include everything from performing CPR to inserting an IV line. Employers may also want to see that you have a firm grasp on basics, such as normal heart, pulse or blood pressure, and what it means if it suddenly drops or increases. Even if you don’t use a certain skill or specific knowledge on a day-to-day basis, a recruiter may want assurance you can implement if it the need arises.
Even if you have years of nursing experience, you may lack the specific knowledge necessary for guiding a woman through childbirth and ensuring both she and her child are healthy. Employers will likely ask several questions specific to labor and delivery nursing, such as the basic delivery room procedures nurses must follow, how to monitor vital signs for both mother and child, or how to comfort a nervous, first-time expectant mother. They may also ask what you would do if either the mother or baby were in distress or what the nurse’s role is during a cesarean section delivery.