The labor and delivery nurse welcomes new life into the world … if only that were as simple as it sounds!
What do labor and delivery nurses need in their tool kit to do their very best? Here’s a list:
Ability to jump into the action
A routine labor may quickly develop complications that require fast action. Even when things are going well, downtime can rapidly become full steam ahead—and all at once. It’s the babies that are in charge.
A calming presence and reassuring demeanor
Whether talking a woman through a contraction, calming a nervous partner, or ushering unwanted guests out of the room, the labor and delivery nurse is most effective when calm and even-keeled.
There is no area of nursing that doesn’t require patient advocates. But women who are in labor need extra help maintaining boundaries and doing what’s right for them. Many people may have opinions about what’s best for the mother and baby. The L&D nurse knows that the health and safety of the mother and baby aside, what the mother wants is among the most important factors in a positive outcome.
Fetal and maternal monitoring know-how
L&D nurses become so adept at fetal and maternal monitoring that it becomes as much intuition as it is science. They’re able to intervene at the very onset of changes to the baby or mother’s status.
Recognition of intimate partner violence
Spending time with a woman in labor, at her most vulnerable, may reveal safety concerns in the home that otherwise wouldn’t be visible. L&D nurses have seen a lot and can often spot signs that a woman may be a victim of home violence.
Going through labor and the birth of a child is an incredibly intimate and vulnerable experience. A nurse that can establish trust from the very beginning makes a patient feel safe and supported through such a trying and exhausting journey.
Ability to withhold judgment
Every mother has different ideas about how to birth and raise a child and some women don’t necessarily make choices you might agree with. But great L&D nurses manage to distance themselves from any judgment, to deliver the most compassionate care they can.
Willingness to be there for the patient in grief
Sadly, not all labors go as planned. When an infant is very sick, or dies, the labor and delivery nurse must help the family through that very difficult period. A nurse’s acknowledgment of a special life is something that the parents will never forget.
Are you a labor and delivery nurse? What’s in your tool kit?