What Are the Requirements to Be a Labor and Delivery Nurse?

At minimum, nurses who specialize in labor and delivery need to earn a diploma, an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree in nursing and obtain state licensure. Keep reading to learn more about what a labor and delivery nurse does, along with education and licensure requirements. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

A labor and delivery nurse works with pregnant woman and their families to provide prenatal, delivery of child, and postnatal care. Your duties in this job would include performing examinations, assisting with or performing delivery of newborns, providing newborn care, and documenting medical records. You will also work with doctors, other nurses, and the patient to communicate information about the delivery and the newborn.

You may arrange for any tests that need to be ordered based on your findings or examinations. You will also monitor the newborn's heartbeat, as well as its positions before and during the delivery.

Important Facts About Labor and Delivery Nurses

Median Salary (2019) $61,333*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 21% growth (for all registered nurses)**
Key Skills Organization, composure, critical thinking, problem solving, attention to detail, leadership, ingenuity
Similar Occupations Registered nurses; physicians assistants; physicians; surgeons

Sources: *PayScale.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education

You will need at least a diploma, associate's degree, or bachelor's degree to become a registered nurse. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) recommends weighing your options for each type of nursing program. If you just want to get your feet in the door, an associate's degree program can provide clinical, general nursing, and patient care courses. Diploma programs are rare, but can offer similar training.

You may find that a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program offers more training and technical education, as well as prepares you for graduate-level training. Your BSN program may also have rotations where you'll experience an array of nursing areas, including labor and delivery, surgery, and pediatrics. Courses you can expect to take at the bachelor's degree level include microbiology, nursing and healthcare practices, maternity nursing, pharmacology, and fundamentals of nursing.

If you would like to become a nurse midwife, you will need to earn a master's degree, in addition to being a RN. These programs typically take two years to complete and include multiple clinical experiences.

Licensing

Whether you complete a diploma or degree program, you will also need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), which is required in all states to become a registered nurse (RN). Requirements for the exam vary by state, so check with your state's nursing board.

Certification

You can pursue voluntary professional certification, such as the inpatient obstetric nursing or neonatal intensive care nursing credentials offered by the National Certification Corporation. In addition to your RN licensure, both of these certification options also require specialty experience, as well as practice time and hours.

Licensed RNs who hold a master's degree in nurse midwifery can sit for specialty certification exams offered by the American Midwifery Certification Board.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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