Aspire to Be an L&D Travel Nurse? What New Grad Nurses Can Expect

04/12/2021

Learn what a new grad RN can expect from a career as a Labor and Delivery nurse

L&D travel nurses enjoy professional growth and fun travel adventures. See what new grad nurses can expect from this career path.

By Riley Morales, contributor

There is no sight more beautiful than a mother holding her newborn. After months of anticipation and preparation, while enduring morning sickness and other body changes—followed by hours of exhaustive (and painful) labor—it is amazing to see mother and child meet for the first time. 

Thankfully, these new mothers can enjoy the support of labor and delivery (L&D) nurses throughout the labor process. L&D nurses may spend hours in the labor and delivery room with an individual patient, coaching mothers through all stages of labor, monitoring for irregularities, and providing much needed emotional support. It is a monumental job, but L&D nurses learn to handle the task with ease.  

For new grad nurses interested in becoming a labor and delivery nurse, either full-time or in a travel capacity, there are a few requirements and essential skills you will need to successfully support your maternity patients.

Explore L&D travel nurse opportunities with NursingJobs.com

L&D nursing starts with a strong clinical foundation

Clinical skills are absolutely vital to performing the labor and delivery nurse role successfully. L&D nurses are involved in almost every aspect of the labor and postpartum period. These responsibilities can include: 

  • Monitoring patients in triage for preterm labor 
  • Assisting in active labor (induction assistance, epidural assistance, pain management, and delivery support) 
  • Assessing patients for irregularities (excess bleeding, irregular heartbeats)
  • Newborn care and assessment 
  • Charting via electronic medical record
  • Medication administration and pain management

The list of responsibilities for L&D nurses could go on and on, but strong clinical skills are the foundation of them all. New graduates who have passed the NCLEX should welcome the chance to increase their knowledge in maternal and child health care through on-the-job training, continuing education and earning the appropriate certifications. 

One of the main certifications for L&D nurses is the Inpatient Obstetric Nursing certification (RNC-OB) offered by the National Certification Commission (NCC), but it requires a minimum of two years post-graduate experience. 

As an L&D travel nurse, you can learn best practices from top facilities and take your skills where they are needed most! Note that many hospitals and birthing centers will require one to two years of recent experience for travel nurses in labor and delivery, but new grad nurses can apply to connect with a recruiter for more details. 

Communication is key, with medical staff and patients

Good communication is often referred to as a “soft skill,” but in this line of work, it couldn’t be more important.

Communication skills are vital in the delivery room, especially since things can change quickly. As an L&D nurse, you’ll be collaborating with the entire care team which can include anesthesia providers, physicians, midwives, lactation nurses and charge nurses. You’ll need to communicate with the patient about her desired birthing plan, develop and implement a care plan with the medical team, keep the mother calm and focused, plus educate her regarding medications, labor, pushing, delivering and postpartum care—for mother and baby. 

L&D travel nurses and recent graduates who are new to the unit will find that good communication skills will help you get integrated with new hospital systems and teams. You can work with the delivery team to get a better understanding of each patient’s needs and will need a good bedside manner to connect with the mother and her support group before and during labor. 

L&D nurses rely on critical thinking and multitasking skills

Each shift, and each L&D patient, is unique; you’ll never know exactly what to expect. In fact, labor and delivery nurses commonly work with multiple patients at a time, and each case will involve more than just mother and baby, often including the labor coach, additional family members and all of the people on the delivery team. 

There is a lot to handle, and L&D nurses need to be able to keep a close watch, notice key changes, work in sync with others on the team, and adjust their level of care to fit each patient’s situation.

New grads, travel nursing and L&D

Oh, the places you’ll go! 

Labor and delivery travel nurses are always in demand, so if you’re still in training or building up your experience, you can expect to find L&D jobs across the United States when you are ready to travel. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects a 7% growth in RN jobs between 2019-2029, indicating even more opportunities will be opening up for both permanent and traveling L&D nurses.

Travel nurses can expect to earn competitive salaries that are often higher than salaries for staff nurses, but L&D salaries will vary by hospital size, location of position and your level of experience. Additional benefits for travel nurses include free housing, paid travel expenses, insurance coverage and more.

APPLY TODAY to connect with a recruiter and learn more about L&D travel nursing.

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