Labor and Delivery Nursing

labor and delivery nursing

Birth is a medical miracle, but the birthing process can involve many complications. In this time of need, nurses play a vital role in ensuring the safety and well-being of both mothers and children. While this field can potentially cause stress and present many challenges, it can also be one of the most rewarding populations to work with in a nurses career.

Job Description

Labor and Delivery nurses (L&D) provides all necessary nursing care during the birthing process. This particular field of nursing is unique in that each case has two intricately connected patients, and both mother and child require attentive care. An L&D nurse is responsible for monitoring vital signs of the mother and baby, administering needed medications or epidurals, and providing physical and moral support during the labor process. Depending on state, facility, degree held and experience, nurses may also perform other duties to facilitate a safe birth.


To become an L&D nurse, one must first become a Registered Nurse (RN). This involves obtaining either an Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Once the proper schooling has been completed, the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) must be passed. Local requirements for further licensing may vary by state. Jobs for certified RNs can be found in various hospitals and birthing centers with a labor and delivery focus. Further education and certification is available in order to provide a higher level of care. For example, one can advance to become a Nurse Practitioner (NP) in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Those serving in this position can provide specialized care when difficult circumstances or complications arise. One can pursue education to become a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) as set out by the American Midwifery Certification Board; the National Certification Corporation also offers specialization in Inpatient Obstetric Nursing.


L&D nurses must be able to handle themselves in any situation. Complications may arise and tensions will run high in the delivery room. Amidst the difficulties and drama of birth, L&D nurses must maintain a cool head and calm disposition in order to provide the care and support needed. Empathy is essential to provide such support, as is respect for the dignity and preferences of the family. A clear understanding of the birthing process and lifespan development is also important, as nurses are typically in the best position to provide early identification of potential complications. Knowledge of common diseases and symptoms, as well as treatment options and diagnostic measures, will allow for quick and accurate understanding of situations. Above all, L&D nurses must love babies. Familiarity with the challenges of motherhood will allow for more thorough understanding of what patients are going through.

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