A simple look at the demographics can be enough to understand the importance and demand of labor and delivery nurses. Different women have different health care needs during pregnancy and childbirth and it is the responsibility of the team of labor and delivery nurses to ensure that they receive the right patient care throughout the process. It can also be an interesting field of work for nurses who love handling the newborns.
Since they are required to work with women of all different ages, the nurses should have enough skills to predict the outcomes and act appropriately and promptly during the need of the hour. The labor and delivery nurses are often known for their kind demeanor and calmness. Since the job is all about bringing new life to the world, the labor and delivery nurses are required to work with great tenderness and ensure the safety and comfort of both the mother and the child at all times.
What Does A Labor And Delivery Nurse Do On A Normal Working Day?
The everyday job of the labor and delivery nurses is to offer assistance to the pregnant women during childbirth and ensure that the newborns receive appropriate care post delivery. They are the primary health care providers and take charge of tasks such as monitoring the contractions and their timing, induce labor, administer drugs, monitor the vital statistics and offer assistance during cesarean sections.
The labor and delivery nurses are not independent health care providers, but instead work closely with the other members of the team comprising of doctors and senior nurses. Their Responsibilities include maintaining effective team coordination during the procedures, developing care plans for the mother and the child and making adjustments in accordance with the needs of the patients. It is essential for the nurses working in the labor and delivery units to be well informed about the working and operation of various technical equipments so as to offer the highest quality care to the patients.
The labor and delivery nurses are frequently handling sensitive issues which require them to have a high level of expertise in their area of work. Therefore, it is mandatory for them to hold a license to practice. The interested nurses also go for a specialization in Obstetric Nursing. This allows them to work more effectively during the high-stress scenarios and offer a very safe experience for the patients. The labor and delivery nurses can also choose to work in the general ward with a low patient ratio or with the high-risk groups such as patients with advanced maternal age, abnormal fetal development, and high-risk pregnancies. However, high-risk care is usually available only in the urban areas or teaching hospitals.
Labor And Delivery Nurse Job Duties And Responsibilities
- Offering direct service in the maternity wards, ensuring the safety and comfort of both the mother and the infant
- Evaluating the medical condition of the patients and taking the vital statistics on a regular basis
- Perform diagnostic tests on the mother prior to delivery and identify any potential complications
- Coaching the expectant mothers and preparing them for the delivery
- Make accurate documentation of the patient’s health and the procedures involved in the delivery and post-delivery care
- Report the status of the mother and the infant to the interdisciplinary team
- Coordinate patient using a holistic approach or in another word, look after the medical needs of the patients while also tending to their psychosocial and emotional needs
- Establish a rapport with the patients so as to accurately evaluate their immediate needs
- Refer the patients to specialists if required
- Offer guidance and mentorship to the junior nurses and the support staff
- Analyze the heartbeat patterns and EKG readings of the infant
- Ensuring that the women with advanced maternal age receive special attention during the childbirth and post delivery
- Establish a nurturing and family-centered environment for the patients
- Offer support and education the mothers about the optimal health care needs after delivery
- Stay updated with any new advancements in the field of labor and delivery
The labor and delivery nurses can work in multiple settings, including hospitals, physician’s offices, private clinics, maternity centers and private care facilities. The environment at work is very fast paced and they are required to take up multifaceted roles depending on the need of the hour. The duties and Responsibilities can change rapidly and each day at work can be a new experience for the labor and delivery nurses. They mostly work full-time shifts and can have varying working hours depending on the availability of the nurses or the rules set by the employer. The labor and delivery nurses should also be prepared for nights shits, rotating shifts and sometimes, work during the weekends and holidays.
Most labor and delivery nurses start their career from hospital run programs. The experience at work can be both challenging as well as rewarding. However, the nurses should have an innate desire to help the patients or the working conditions can get pretty stressful in a very short span of time.
Labor And Delivery Nurse Education Requirements
The minimum Qualification to become a labor and delivery nurse is a graduation degree from a state accredited school. Upon completing the graduation program, the nurses are allowed to appear for the national level exam for licensure. Apart from the certification, the nurses are also required to have advanced nursing skills and sufficient experience working in labor and delivery scenarios so as to offer technical and professional service at work. Many employers also prefer hiring specialized candidates with an advanced degree in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
Many labor and delivery nurses initially start their careers working as registered nurses and gradually move up to the position of labor and delivery nurse intern. After sufficient experience working as an intern, they can finally transition into labor and delivery nurses. Some nurses also pursue higher education with a specialization in gynecology and obstetrics and work as nurse practitioners or certified nurse midwives. Others may choose to advance their career further as perinatal educators or location consultants.
Labor And Delivery Nurse Salary
According to the reports released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the United States, the demand for labor and delivery nurses is at an all-time high. Furthermore, there is expected to be an increase of 19% in employment opportunities between the year 2012 and 2022. It has been estimated that the average salary for a labor and delivery nurse is $58,290 per year. 1 Thus, it can be seen that the delivery room nurse salary is very much comparable to the nurses working in other specialties. The salaries can lie anywhere in between $46,776 to $90,571 per annum. 2 These are the salaries for the registered nurses working in the Labor and Delivery Wards. The average labor and delivery nurse practitioner salary are a bit higher. They receive annual salaries of about of about $91,718 per year. 3 Salaries can also vary depending on factors such as work experience, location, employer and the specific roles assigned to the nurses.
How Much Do Labor And Delivery Nurses Make Per Hour?
According to the last survey that was conducted in Jan 27, 2018, the average Hourly pay for the labor and delivery nurses was $29.74. However, the hourly wages are variable and can go up to $38.67 for the regular working hours and as high as $65.73 per hour for those working overtime. This constitutes the basic salary of the nurses. They also receive extra payments in the form of bonuses and other compensation, contributing to total annual earnings of about $90,571 on average. 5
A large majority of the employees working as labor and delivery nurses in the United States are women. Most of the workers have also reported of high job satisfaction working in the field. Apart from the basic salary, the labor and delivery nurses receive a lot of other benefits in the form of vision coverage, dental coverage, medical coverage and more. The data for the given survey was collected from more than a thousand points all across the country with an active participation of both the employers as well as the employees.
Like in other specialties of nursing, career length tends to have a very significant impact on the annual earnings of the labor and delivery nurses. The entry-level nurses or those with less than 5 years of work experience have average annual compensations of about $53,585. This is the total salary received each year and is inclusive of bonus, tips and overtime pay. The labor and delivery nurses who have been working for a bit longer, that is about 5 to 10 years can expect an average annual compensation of about $64,756. Other highly skilled nurses who have been serving under the labor and delivery units for a period of about 10 to 20 years have total compensations of about $66,930 per year on average, while those who are in the late phase of their career or have been working for more than 20 years can earn average compensations as high as $76,000 per year. 4
Salary By Employer
The labor and delivery nurses are essentially nurse graduates and the graduate nurses who work in the outpatient care centers or hospitals have average earnings in the range of $69,490 and $71,200 while those working in the physician’s private clinics earn an average of $62,120 per year.
Pay By Location
The area of employment is the most influential of all factors that determine the salaries of a labor and delivery nurse. The nurses working in the South East states had average annual salaries of $54,456 as of 2011, those working in the Midwest had earnings of $57,333 per year, the labor and delivery nurses working in the Great Lake states and the Mid Atlantic had annual earnings of about $59,445 on average, the nurses working in the Northeast states earned average annual salaries of $71,723 while those working in the West had a comparatively higher average salary of 85,935 per year. The highest paying states for labor and delivery nurses include California, Alaska, and Massachusetts with average annual salaries higher than $85,320.
Highest Salary Paying Locations
|LOCATION||ANNUAL MEAN WAGE|
|Great Lake states||$59,445|
|South East states||$54,456|
Salary By Skill
The employees working as labor and delivery nurses are generally required to have a variety of skills, especially those that can come handy while working in the Postpartum or Operation rooms, Post Anesthesia Care and Recovery Unit and the Nursery. The labor and delivery nurses with the above set of skills earn higher than average. Similar salaries are also received by nurses working in the neonatal intensive care unit.
Job Prospects And Paths To Increase Salary
The labor and delivery nurses can acquire the credential of Inpatient Obstetric Nursing or RNC-OB for a boost to the salary. This is done by clearing the National Certification Corporation exam. The candidates should have a specialty experience of a minimum of 24 hours. Interested nurses can also opt for a specialization in high-risk obstetrics which provides a further boost to the income. Otherwise, the nurses may also start their own practices so as to have a claim over the entire profit.
Other ways to increase the salary is by advancing to master’s level education and transition into a nurse practitioner specializing in gynecology or obstetrics. The basic fact is that the greater the number of Responsibilities a labor and delivery nurse can take, the higher the number of salaries received. Nurses who would rather prefer to advance into the role of nurse educators can earn a doctorate degree and take up teaching positions at nursing schools and colleges. Many employers also offer financial assistance to the nurses who are willing to take up higher studies. However, it should be noted that even the nurse educators are required to work in the clinics on a part-time basis in order to stay in touch with the hands-on skills of the trade.