No one enjoys a painful labor or tense delivery — but if you as a nurse can be helpful with it, your patients will appreciate your composure during perhaps one of the most difficult times of their lives.
You understand how rewarding and demanding being a good labor and delivery nurse is and wonder if you have what it takes.
In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the key factors to consider if you want to be a great labor and delivery nurse.
Table of Contents
- What Makes a Great Labor and Delivery Nurse?
- 3 Ways You Can Become a Better Labor and Delivery Nurse
- #1: Be a Reliable Support System
- #2: Advocate When Necessary
- #3: Continue to Learn
- Interested in Becoming a Labor & Delivery Travel Nurse? Trusted Nurse Staffing Can Help You Find a Contract Today
What Makes a Great Labor and Delivery Nurse?
As with any nursing role, being a great labor and delivery nurse takes:
- Empathy; and
This includes everything from bedside manner to providing effective pain management.
Being able to provide quality care while keeping your patients safe is critical in this role, as well as diagnosing problems and treating your patients effectively.
3 Ways You Can Become a Better Labor and Delivery Nurse
As a labor and delivery nurse, you are responsible for the health and well-being of new mothers and their babies.
You will provide them with medical care during labor and delivery and support them after the baby is born.
If you want to provide better care for your patients, check out these three ways you can become a better labor and delivery nurse.
#1: Be a Reliable Support System
Nurses provide support to patients of all types, but laboring women rely on nurses more than other patients because of the intense physical and emotional stress of the birthing process.
Labor and delivery nurses should be well-prepared and equipped to provide a variety of supportive services to patients.
For example, you might provide encouragement and emotional support to help with:
- Breastfeeding; or
- Managing post-birth pain
Remembering that every patient’s needs will be different, you can decide whether they need you to be completely hands-on and a heavy support system or if they have someone else who can fill that role.
In any circumstance, the following tips will help you be a reliable support system for your patients as their labor and delivery nurse.
Talk Her Through the Process
Even if she isn’t a first-time mom, your patient may not know what to expect when giving birth because birthing experiences can differ from one time to the next.
Therefore, it is important to talk her through the process step by step.
Some patients may prefer to hear detailed information about the labor and delivery process, while others may just want the basics.
Ultimately, it is up to each patient and their doctor to decide what is the best way for them to talk through their labor and delivery process.
Provide Physical Support
Labor and delivery nurses provide physical support to patients during labor and delivery.
This may include:
- Hand holding
- Rubbing her back
- Positioning the patient
- Coaching during contractions; or
- Assisting with breathing
Labor and delivery nurses also monitor the patient’s health and well-being throughout the process.
Be Calm, Reassuring, and Encouraging
Labor and delivery nurses are often in a position to provide comfort and reassurance to their patients during childbirth.
Nurses should be able to …
- Stay calm
- Use encouraging words; and
- Give assurance during the labor and delivery process
… to provide the best possible care for their patients.
It’s important to be present and not assume that any patient does not need full emotional support.
Reminder: No pregnancy and labor experience is the same for any woman.
Be a Source of Education
Labor and delivery nurses play an important role in educating patients about their health and helping them prepare for labor and delivery.
For example, you may have opportunities to teach your patient:
- When to push
- How an epidural works
- Different laboring techniques
- How to breathe through contractions
- Why you need to change her positioning; and
- Why walking may help her during labor
Besides providing expert care for patients, being a good labor and delivery nurse can also provide you with opportunities to share your knowledge with others in the healthcare field.
If you are interested in learning more about this rewarding career, be sure to explore all of your options — even travel nursing assignments.
Trusted Nurse Staffing can help you find a variety of labor and delivery nursing opportunities available.
Let us assist you in finding the perfect position for your skills and interests. Click below to get started today.
Be Emotionally Aware
As the person responsible for caring for pregnant women during their childbirth, you must be aware of both the medical aspects of labor and delivery as well as the emotional needs of your patients.
Different ways you can be emotionally aware as a labor and delivery nurse include sensing when a patient is experiencing …
- Confusion; or
- Any other emotion
… all of which can affect the patient’s delivery experience and outcome.
Acknowledge the emotions your patients are feeling and work to provide the support they need to have a positive labor and delivery.
Sometimes it’s helpful to have tools in your pocket to help you through those different emotions, such as:
- Telling funny jokes that may make her laugh and ease the tension
- Talking with her about what’s going on to help calm her down
- Answering questions about the labor process or what to expect next
The mother must understand what to expect during labor to make the process comfortable and efficient.
Labor and delivery nurses are typically assigned to only one or two laboring women at a time, whom they care for closely.
This allows for a connection and trust to form between the laboring woman and the nurse providing support — which can comfort her during her labor and help her feel more at ease.
It is common for doctors and other staff to be in and out of the delivery room throughout the entire labor and delivery process.
But as a labor and delivery nurse, you have the opportunity to stay close by to:
- Build a quick but trusting relationship with the mother and baby; and
- Be present for many important moments
The trust that labor and delivery nurses build with their patients is essential to providing them with the best possible experience.
It is always important to be respectful to every patient. As a labor and delivery nurse, you can take care to listen carefully to your patients’ …
- Boundaries; and
- Religious beliefs
… as well as any other preferences, as this information is important in making the best possible medical decisions.
However, remember that you are a professional and your actions should be dictated by the facts of the situation.
It is your responsibility to give your patients the best possible care regardless of their wishes. For example, if a patient requests an epidural but it’s too late in the process for one, you should deny the request and explain why.
Set Realistic Expectations
By setting realistic expectations, both you and the mother can be prepared for what is likely going to happen during labor.
Birth is a natural process that can vary depending on the individual.
However, good labor and delivery nurses can typically provide realistic estimates of:
- How long labor will last
- How many contractions will occur
- How much pain the mother might feel; and
- What positions she may need to assume
The expectant mother needs to understand these expectations to make informed decisions about her birth plan.
If any changes occur during labor (such as an increase in pain or the number of contractions), you will be able to adjust your care accordingly.
#2: Advocate When Necessary
Labor and delivery nurses can be effective advocates for their patients by understanding what might help those clients and being knowledgeable about the medical conditions they may be experiencing.
Nurses offer support to laboring women by being:
- A voice to communicate on behalf of the patient; and
- A medical advocate who understands the labor and delivery process
Often when a woman doesn’t know what might be best or right for her situation — such as teen mothers or first-time moms in labor — nurses are there to provide guidance and support.
Help to Communicate
When a patient needs to be heard and have support, a labor and delivery nurse ensures that her voice will be heard.
This can include communicating with:
- Guests who are not welcome in the room
- Her birthing partner so they can provide support; or
- Doctors and anesthesiologists when needed
Nurses are also responsible for making sure that all communication is effective so that the patient’s needs are met as quickly as possible.
Be a Medical Advocate
A labor and delivery nurse understands the importance of doing what is in the best interest of an individual by being a medical advocate for their patients.
For example, a labor and delivery nurse can be a liaison between the patient and the medical team while:
- Being knowledgeable about medical conditions
- Understanding the client’s wants and needs; and
- Remaining unbiased when deciding on care
Ultimately, it is up to the nurse to ensure that all aspects of a patient’s care are administered in a way that meets her needs.
#3: Continue to Learn
As a labor and delivery nurse, you will need to have solid nursing skills to provide care for both the mother and the baby.
It’s also important that you are knowledgeable about labor and delivery, which can give you the ability to:
- Provide personalized care for your patients
- Better understand what is going on during each stage of labor; and
- Be the best advocate for your patients during the laboring process
Make sure that you are up-to-date on nursing advances so that you can provide quality care for your patients.
You can continue to learn as a labor and delivery nurse by participating in professional development opportunities, such as:
- Taking courses on childbirth and neonatal care
- Pursuing a specialized degree or certification
- Attending labor and delivery nurses’ conferences
- Taking part in clinical research studies; and
- Networking with other nurses in your area
However, one of the most accessible opportunities for continued learning is through your experiences with your medical team in the hospital.
Ask questions if you aren’t sure how something works or if there is anything that you would like to improve upon in your career as a labor and delivery nurse.
Interested in Becoming a Labor & Delivery Travel Nurse? Trusted Nurse Staffing Can Help You Find a Contract Today
If you are interested in becoming a labor and delivery travel nurse, Trusted Nurse Staffing can help you find a contract today.
With our award-winning staffing agency, you will find out how our exceptional commitment to service can help you follow your passions and earn more money as a labor and delivery nurse.
We can help by:
- Providing employment opportunities in all 50 states, so you will have many options
- Taking the time to know you and your needs, so that we can find the perfect travel positions for you; and
- Discussing your flexibility needs, previous travel experience, and comfort level with starting at new facilities
Finally, we consider your skills and interests to help you find the most rewarding labor and delivery nursing assignments.
If you need to get more training to be a qualified travel nurse, we can assist with your certifications, training, and other compliance requirements.
We are always happy to help travel nurses find jobs in the healthcare industry.
If you would like to speak with us about working in this field, click below to create your free profile with Trusted Nurse Staffing and get started today.