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How to Get into a Career as a Labor and Delivery Nurse
Becoming a labor and delivery nurse in Ottawa is an adrenaline filled career offering the sought after rewards of deep personal bonds with patients, ability to work with adult and infant patients, and the excitement of the emergency room with an almost always happy ending.
These are highly sought after specialty jobs and require a special kind of nurse or nursing student. Once you have a taste of this work, most nurses are addicted for life. There are very few openings in this field because turnover is low among a group of highly satisfied professionals.
It takes a special kind of nurse or nursing student because you have to be prepared for anything and everything and it requires both pediatric and adult nursing skills, operating room and procedural skills and the love of the challenge.
Qualifications for Labor and Delivery Nurses
- RN license
- Associate or Bachelor Degree in Nursing
- Could be recent graduate or have 1-2 years of general medical nursing experience depending upon the hiring hospital policies
- Instruction in neonatal resuscitation and in fetal monitor is needed but might be acquired after hire
Hiring and training of the Labor and Delivery Nurses
Anyone applying for these types of positions will find the field crowded with recent graduates and experienced nurses. As previously mentioned these jobs were not often available as nurses did not change out of these highly sought after positions. Once a nurse got into this career path they seldom gave them up. So the field of applicants is large. One needs good credentials whether they come from education or experience and one needs to interview extremely well to compete with all the nurses who would like to get into this field.
Strengths needed include the ability to think critically and solve problems, the ability to be a strong collaborator within a highly professional and talented team and an outstanding communicator. It is a team oriented practice where nurses and physicians are collaborating together for the entire course of both the mother and the baby’s journey.
Training and Growth
Those wanting to get into this field in Ottawa need to be open to intensive orientation and training at the beginning, ongoing mentoring throughout and ongoing educational and learning requirements and opportunities for the rest of their career. The initial orientation and training for a Labor and Delivery Nurse is usually 10 to 12 weeks after which they are given a mentor for 2-3 months, until they are competent in all areas of the field. After 6 months the new nurse would be assigned their own patient – one who is low risk.
This intense education and training is only the beginning for the Labor and Delivery Nurse. Ongoing, continuing education and training is the norm for one’s entire career. Certifications are available through this continuous education in areas such as Lactation Counseling, Maternal Newborn Care and Neonatal Intensive Care. With a master’s degree in nursing, one can become a women’s health practitioner, certified nurse midwife and perinatal clinical nurse specialist.