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

Helping to bring new life into the world as a labor and delivery nurse requires a general nursing degree and license. Read on for more about labor and delivery nurse education requirements, licensing, and certification. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview: How to Become a Labor and Delivery Nurse

Labor and delivery nurses help deliver babies and care for mothers before, during, and after giving birth. To get started in this profession, you must first get a nursing degree and then become a registered nurse (RN). From there, you can get jobs in delivery rooms and learn the specifics of labor and delivery. It's also possible for labor and delivery nurses to seek higher education and advance their careers.

Education Requirements Bachelor of Science in Nursing preferred; associate's degree or diploma programs available
Other Requirements National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN) license
Average Salary (2019) $62,649*
Job Outlook (2018-2028) 12% increase (for all registered nurses)**

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

Labor and Delivery Nurse Job Overview

Labor and delivery nurses work in delivery rooms, supporting mothers who are giving birth. They also help the mother before labor and both mother and child after birth. Their responsibilities include monitoring the mother's vital signs during labor, administering medications, keeping track of time between contractions and assisting in any other necessary processes, like inducing labor or performing cesarean sections. The average salary for a labor and delivery nurse is $62,649 according to Payscale.com, and the career is expected to grow by 12 percent (which is much faster than average), from 2018 to 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Labor and Delivery Nurse Education Requirements

Labor and delivery nurses first need to complete an accredited nursing program. Some institutions offer RN diploma programs, but employers generally prefer an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN), or, even better, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Nurses who want to advance their careers can pursue a master's degree.

Labor and Delivery Nurse School Overview

ASN and BSN programs cover various topics in nursing; you won't find specific labor and delivery nurse colleges. These programs will include science and math courses, like statistics and anatomy and physiology. They will also cover various nursing topics like pediatric nursing, nursing for older adults, and pharmacology. Most will have maternity and women's health nursing classes, which will be helpful for aspiring labor and delivery nurses. In addition, students will get real-world clinical practice. BSN programs, which take about four years to complete, usually include more general education requirements than ASN or diploma programs. Specific labor and delivery experience will be gained once students graduate and get a job as a labor and delivery nurse.

Labor and Delivery Nurse Practitioner School and Degree Requirements

Note that this step is only necessary for RNs who want to advance their careers to become nurse practitioners and provide more advanced care to patients. Labor and delivery nurses can complete a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program at a nurse practitioner school in women's health or certified nurse-midwifery. Women's health nurse practitioners focus on women's health at all life stages, including reproductive care. Certified nurse-midwives specifically focus on care during labor and delivery. Schools may offer master's degree programs with dual concentrations in these areas, which will prepare students for either career. These programs usually take about two years to complete.

Labor and Delivery Nurse License

Once students graduate from nursing school, they can take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN) exam to become a licensed RN. This exam tests knowledge of various areas of nursing, including management of care, pharmacology, providing basic care and comfort, and health promotion and maintenance. It also covers knowledge of nursing processes within these topics, including assessment and implementation of care, patient communication and documentation, creating an atmosphere of caring, and more. Before taking this exam, students must get approval from their state nursing regulatory body.

Labor and Delivery Nurse Certifications

Labor and delivery nurse certifications are not mandatory, but they may show potential employers that nurses specialize in the area. The National Certification Corporation offers certification in Inpatient Obstetric Nursing (RNC-OB). Nurses can only seek this certification after two years, and at least 2,000 hours of experience. To receive this certification, nurses must take an exam that tests their knowledge of assessment of the fetus, delivery complications, labor management, newborn care and more.

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