April 8, 2010
Women who have delivered children often speak in reverent tones when describing their labor and delivery nurse. Besides actually helping a woman through the birthing process, labor and delivery nurses are the calming force in the labor room, providing emotional support for the mother and the fetus through delivery process.
What They Do
Every step of the way, labor and delivery nurses are in the labor room caring for women before, during and after delivery of the baby. They are responsible for making sure that the medical, as well as the emotional, needs of the patient are adequately met throughout the entire birthing process. These nurses must be skilled at assessing situations in a fast-paced and often stressful environment.
Essentially, labor and delivery nurses are the primary caretakers until the baby is ready to be delivered by the doctor. They may be required to administer medications, induce labor, monitor fetal heart rates, work with doctors to design an infant delivery plan and perform other similar tasks.
Education and Qualifications
A labor and delivery nurse is required to have an associate degree or a bachelor's degree in nursing, a valid Registered Nurse (RN) license and the appropriate certifications for neonatal care as required by employers.
Demand and Compensation
Like all nursing positions, labor and delivery nurses are in great demand. The U.S. Department of Labor projects that more than a million new and replacement registered nurses, including labor and delivery nurses, will be needed by 2016.
Median annual wages of registered nurses were $62,450 in May 2008, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The middle 50 percent of labor and delivery nurses earned between $51,640 and $76,570. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $43,410, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $92,240.
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