Is Being a Labor and Delivery Nurse As Easy As It Looks?

If you've given birth, been in L&R or sat around the hospital waiting for a baby to be born you might look around and see a whole bunch of nurses hanging out in the Labor and Delivery ward and wonder what they're doing all day.

Then, you might get the bright idea that it's an easy job that requires very little work. Unfortunately for you (and the nurses) that job isn't as easy as it might appear.

Now, in a hospital there are people on duty 24 hours a day so it's no mystery that there are people working in the middle of the night every night because that's just what hospitals do. If you're working Labor and Delivery you do have to spend a lot of time waiting for babies to be born because sometimes labor just takes a long time, but that doesn't mean you're doing nothing.

If you have a woman who needs an epidural you have to assist the Doctor administer the epidural (even though she isn't giving birth you still have to help.) If a woman is being induced you have to check her baby's heartrate constantly to make sure everything is ok. In general you have to check the mother's and baby's vital signs frequently to make sure everything is on the "up and up".

If you do happen to be working in the middle of the night and you come in while a woman is in labor you must spend some "quality time" getting to know the mother (and other family who are there) and build a rapport with them. If you're the "new girl on the block" and these fine folks have been in labor for 18 hours they are sure hoping you are a sweetheart (take the time to show them that you are!)

If you have Doctors coming in and out of the hospital you need make sure they are apprised of what's going on in their patient's rooms because the Doctor typically does not have time to sit around the hospital all day. If there are midwives coming in and out of the hospital they DO have to wait around for babies to be born and you need to make sure that they are welcomed and have a little "place' to be.

You're more than just the person who sits at the nurse's desk waiting for something to happen because you're constantly monitoring EVERYTHING that's happening all the time. Granted, you are going to have a little free time and you don't have to "be on silence", but you do have to be highly alert and ready for anything (breach babies, water suddenly breaking, etc.)

There's a reason that Labor and Delivery nurses tend to make a little more than average money...they are responsible for so much! If you're the Dad and you walk down the hall at 3 a.m. to ask a question that nurse needs to have an answer. If there's no one around and the baby's coming now you have to act! If the baby's heartrate is slowing you need to take action or find a Doctor on the double. It's all on you because you're the person who walks that floor everyday.

To be sure, it's not like you're working in a "forward area" or "taking a weapon and standing a post" but working in Labor and Delivery is more than it might appear as you walk through the ward on a quiet Tuesday morning.

Compare Medical Careers

Compare medical careers

Find the perfect medical career with our interactive medical career comparison tool. Change what you're looking for & and instantly see the results.

Great Pay / Minimal School

Find medical jobs with great pay & minimal schooling:

Physically Active Careers

Find physically active healthcare careers:

Medical Careers Mentioned

Career Spotlight Articles