How Do You Become a Labor and Delivery Nurse?

Labor and Delivery NurseLabor and delivery nurses help women go through labor and ensure the safety of mothers and children, but before you can become a labor and delivery nurse, you need to go through a series of specific steps. Labor and delivery is a specialization of nursing that is only open to those who already work as registered nurses. Unlike other specializations that you can select while in college, you can only work in labor and delivery after finishing your degree and obtaining certification.

Go to Nursing School

The first step in working as any type of nurse is the completion of nursing school. You can earn an Associate in Nursing in two or three years, but many students later go back to school and enroll in a BSN program to earn a Bachelor in Nursing. Nursing school requires both classroom work and work in the field. After finishing your first year, you will spend a good portion of your second year completing clinical rotations and working with patients of different types.

Become an RN

Before you can become a labor and delivery nurse, you must become a registered nurse. Registered nurses have a college degree and pass the national licensing examination for nurses. This computerized examination covers a wide range of nursing topics, including why doctors use different types of drugs, how to react in different situations and even ethical and legal topics. You cannot work as a registered nurse unless you receive a passing score on this extensive test. Once you pass this examination, you can apply for work as an RN. Depending on where you live, you might find that you need to apply for a new license once every three years or more often.

Gain Experience

While you may not find work as a labor or delivery nurse as an RN, you can find work once you gain some more experience. Hospitals and clinics typically look for delivery nurses who have a minimum of three years of experience. You can gain that experience working on a maternity floor, in an obstetrics clinic or in any other position that puts you in direct contact with newborn babies and pregnant women. Once you gain enough experience working in labor and delivery, you can apply for certification and start looking for a full time job.

Obtain Certification

The National Certification Corporation is the company responsible for certifying men and women who want to become a labor and delivery nurse. According to the NCC, this is part of its continuing education model that asks students to complete 65 hours of obstetrics classes online, including abnormal labor, issues in pain control in labor and pharmacology in labor and delivery. You must pay a set fee for each class, or you can enroll in a program that charges one fee for all the required courses. Once you successfully complete and pass each of those classes, you receive a certificate that allows you to work as a full time labor and delivery nurse.

Related Resource: Nurse Anesthesiologist

Women feel nervous, worried and frightened while giving birth. Nurses who specialize in labor and delivery help calm their fears and ensure that the labor goes as smoothly as possible. To
become a labor and delivery nurse in the United States, you must be a registered nurse with a degree, experience and a certificate to practice in the field.