How can I go back to inpatient labor and delivery after working in outpatient OB/GYN?

By | 2022-02-14T17:51:28-05:00 April 14th, 2011|0 Comments


Dear Donna,

I have been an RN for 14 years. I started in Level 2 labor and delivery and for 10 years have been working in outpatient OB/GYN. I want to return to inpatient labor and delivery or inpatient ICU, but I am finding it difficult to get a job because I have been out of the inpatient setting so long. Any suggestions? I am a team player, hard worker, quick learner, self-starter and very loyal.


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Jennifer,

It likely would be easier for you to get back into inpatient labor and delivery because you have previous experience and have stayed in that specialty.

Because you have been out of the inpatient setting for some time, to get back in you’ll need to use a different approach (other than sending in resumes and applying online for posted jobs). That would include joining and getting active (attend meetings and get on a committee) in the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses ( if you are not already a member or are not active. When there’s something you want to do, it makes sense to rub elbows with those already doing that thing. At least attend meetings as a guest for now to network and get reconnected to your specialty.

If you want to try to get into ICU, you’ll likely need to take a refresher course. However, even that won’t guarantee your being hired into an ICU setting. Depending on where you live, there may be an overabundance of nurses with inpatient experience right now so hospitals can afford to be picky. It’s not impossible for you to make this transition, but it will be even more challenging. However, if you still want to pursue this, start doing some informational interviewing ( with nurses working in ICU, especially supervisors and mangers — the ones who have the power to hire. Find them by asking around and by attending local meetings of the American Nurses Association and the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (

You also should be attending nursing career fairs and facility recruitment or open house events. Face-to-face networking is an effective way to meet people and gather valuable information about opportunities and hiring requirements.

Brush up on your self-marketing and networking skills, have business cards made for yourself, invest in a good business suit and get yourself out there. Persistence and determination always will win out in the end.

Best wishes,


Prepare for the Inpatient Obstetric (RNC-OB) exam with the Inpatient Obstetric Nursing Certification Review Course. offers a fully online self-paced prep course.


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