A labor and delivery nurse is a nurse who specializes in supporting patients immediately before, during, and after the delivery process. As a delivery nurse, one must provide empathetic support to individuals giving birth, administer medications, check patient vitals, perform cervical checks, intervene during emergencies, chart, educate on breastfeeding and newborn care, and instill confidence, particularly in first-time parents.
Being an L&D nurse has numerous benefits, making it a rewarding and fulfilling specialty for nurses. From being in high demand and earning a good salary to witnessing the miracle of life, this blog post will share some of the top benefits of choosing labor and delivery nursing as your specialty. By examining what is the role of a labor and delivery nurse, L&D nurse duties, and what labor and delivery nursing is like, you'll better understand the many advantages that come with this role.
1. Personal Fulfillment
One of the top benefits of becoming a labor and delivery nurse is that it is rewarding work. As a nurse, you'll provide essential support during what is likely to be one of the most extraordinary and important milestones of an individual's life. While working as a nurse always has its stressors, there's a notable difference when you're providing support to patients who dread their clinic or hospital visit and those who are excited (albeit nervous) because they're in the hospital to give birth.
Giving birth also has challenges and complications, and nurses can witness devastating losses in this role, such as stillbirths or maternal mortality. However, many labor and delivery nurses say that being part of delivering a healthy baby and seeing parents' happiness is one of the most fulfilling aspects of their role.
Amy Hood, a labor and delivery nurse for over five years, says that providing patients with the best possible birth experience makes her feel privileged and honored. "It is such an incredible life-changing event in people's lives, and I often still get tears in my eyes. The immediate love that parents have for their newborn is a beautiful event to witness," she said in an interview.
Nurse Darcy Dinneny shared how working as a labor and delivery nurse has been a rewarding and life-changing experience. "I went to nursing school to become a labor nurse. I never considered anything else. I knew it was what I wanted. I had four children by the time I became a nurse and felt I could empathize with my patients on another level. I loved the entire process of pregnancy and delivery. I never failed to cry when a baby was born, even after participating in hundreds of births."
2. Ability to Advocate for Patients
Given the intimacy and life-changing nature of the delivery process, labor and delivery nurses can advocate for their patients during critical moments.
Nurse Michelle Flowers explained this advocacy role as follows: "This is one of the most vulnerable times in a woman's life. She is at both her strongest and weakest points during labor. She needs an advocate willing to support fully informed decisions made for her body and health and that of her child, even when not the popular choice. It was my goal to be such an advocate."
"I thought it was an area I could potentially make a difference: ensuring mothers received optimal support, maintained their dignity, and understood their value no matter their life circumstance."
3. Competitive Salary and Benefits
Labor and delivery nurses can earn between $73,860 to $93,070, which is the average for registered nurses working in various settings, making it a lucrative career. In addition, full-time labor and delivery nurses can have additional benefits such as vacation pay, health insurance, and retirement funds. Those who work as per diem nurses benefit from receiving competitive hourly wages and can pick up shifts where and when they want to create their ideal schedule.
4. Opportunity to Specialize
While working as a labor and delivery nurse is already a specialty within the registered nursing profession, there is an opportunity to niche even further by choosing an area of practice to focus on within a labor and delivery unit.
For example, you can be an L&D nurse assisting with the birth process and up to two hours after delivery, a postpartum or mother and baby nurse, a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurse, or a newborn nursery nurse. Whether you'd like to help patients recover after they give birth and provide breastfeeding support and education or prefer to work with premature babies, there is an opportunity to do just that within this nursing specialty.
5. Job Security
Labor and delivery nursing is a specialty that is in high demand, as approximately 3.6 million births are recorded across the U.S. every year. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there will be approximately 194,500 job openings for registered nurses annually, given the current nursing shortage.
Final Thoughts | The Benefits of Becoming a Labor and Delivery Nurse
Regardless of your location, becoming a labor and delivery nurse has numerous advantages that make for a rewarding career. If you'd like to learn more about what labor and delivery nurses do or how to become a labor and delivery nurse, you can also refer to Nursa's comprehensive guide on labor and delivery nursing. The guide covers everything you need to know about this nursing specialty and answers common questions, including what is a labor and delivery unit in a hospital, what is the role of a labor and delivery nurse, how much does an L&D nurse make, and is labor and delivery nursing hard.
Looking to pick up a high paying, per diem shift as a labor and delivery nurse? Download the Nursa app today to browse nearby opportunities.