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OB/GYN Nursing

Gynecology/obstetric nurses are nurses who specialize in the field of women’s reproductive health. A broad nursing field, gynecology/obstetric nursing (also referred to as OB/GYN nursing) covers a broad range of aiding women with reproductive health, from teaching women about contraception techniques, caring for and educating expectant mothers, and working with mothers and their newborns. The field is further divided into the two main sub-fields of perinatal nursing and labor and delivery nursing.

Perinatal Nursing

These nurses work with women before, during, and after childbirth. In addition to their roles caring for pregnant women, these nurses act as educators for expectant mothers: perinatal nurses teach mothers about different delivery techniques, they stay with and support the mother during the actual childbirth, and after childbirth they continue to support mother and newborn by teaching the mother how to bond with her new baby, including teaching the mother about nursing her newborn. Perinatal nurses play an important role in the mother’s psychological health, not just her physiological health. Because of the emphasis on helping mother and baby bond, perinatal nursing is also sometimes called Mother/Baby/Couplet Care Nursing.

Labor & Delivery Nursing

While nurses in the perinatal field may be found in clinics, hospitals, and private offices around the country, labor and delivery nurses tend to be found primarily in hospital settings. Sometimes called L&D nursing, labor and delivery nurses provide care to women during the process of birth and the period of time just following birth.

The primary job of a labor and delivery nurse is to assess each mother and newborn and create an individualized plan of care for them. Before birth, some of their jobs include tracking fetal heart rates and identifying ahead of time which mothers may face postpartum depression. They check the lab work of their patients, ask for additional tests if they feel necessary, and work with a mother’s attending physician to ensure the birth and post-birth process go smoothly for her and her newborn.

 

 

Further Roles of Hospital L&D Nurses

Labor and delivery nurses can be further sub-divided based on the different kinds of roles they play.

- Antepartum nurses: These nurses work with expectant mothers who are considered to have high-risk pregnancies.
- Circulating nurses: This labor and delivery nurse works primarily in the operating room, where he or she cares for patients during caesarean section deliveries.
- Scrub nurses: Like the circulating nurse, this labor and delivery nurse is also found in the operating room, but he or she works directly with the surgeon who is performing the c-section through passing the surgical instruments.
- Postpartum nurses: Postpartum nurses work with mother and child directly after birth.
- Nursery nurse: These nurses work in the nursery, providing care for newborns.

Becoming an OB/GYN Nurse

OB/GYN nurses are registered nurses (RNs) who work in the field of obstetrics/gynecology. To start with, there is no special education or certification required to work as an OB/GYN nurse – an RN license is sufficient to get started in this field. However, once working in an OB/GYN field, it’s not a bad idea to gain certification in one’s sub-specialty, to show commitment to the field and earn a higher rate of pay.

Some hospitals state in their OB/GYN job openings that they prefer RNs who hold bachelor’s degrees in nursing. However, not all OB/GYN nurses hold BSN degrees. All hospitals are different; some hospitals will hire new RNs into certain OB/GYN departments, such as postpartum and nursery, but not in other departments.

 

Job Prospects for OB/GYN Nurses

Probably the hardest part about becoming an OB/GYN nurse is finding a job. While there is a nationwide shortage of nurses, OB/GYN nursing is a popular field that many nurses love working in. Therefore, in comparison to some other nursing fields, job turnover is relatively low, making openings more scarce than in other nursing fields.

OB/GYNs are not the highest paid nurses in the field. Pay varies quite a bit by state and by hospital, but average salaries for OB/GYN nurses, even those with multiple years of experience, is generally between $20 and $30 per hour. The average salary for an OB/GYN nurse practitioner (higher level of education than a regular RN) is $54,000, compared to an average starting salary for all nurse practitioners of $56,000.

Overall, OB/GYN nursing is a very rewarding field, as nurses work with future mothers, new mothers, and their infants to ensure the creation of healthy, happy families.

 

 

 


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