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Is Working as an Obstetrics Nurse Right for You?

If you want to work with pregnant women and newborn babies, becoming an obstetrics nurse may be the right career for you.

Job Description

Those who are employed in physicians’ offices care for women from puberty and beyond, and their duties include conducting mammograms, administering HPV vaccinations, educating women on birth control options, charting a patient’s medical history, taking vital signs, and assisting the physician during examinations.

Obstetrics nurses who work in the Labor and Delivery unit are responsible for several duties:

  • They prepare the delivery room by sterilizing the equipment, gathering necessary medications, and making sure the equipment is working properly.
  • After a patient is admitted, these nurses insert IVs, check vital signs and cervical dilation, time contractions, watch for complications, and note the patient’s medical history.
  • When assisting a woman in labor, they perform what is known as supportive nursing care. This means they serve as a “coach” and tend to a patient’s emotional, mental, and physical needs.
  • Once a baby is born, obstetrics nurses clean and warm the baby as well as assess vital signs.
  • They tend to recovering mothers by providing pain medication and determining the patient’s recovery status. They also provide guidance on breast-feeding and teach new mothers how to change and feed their baby.

Obstetrics NurseEducation

Obstetrics nurses need to earn either an Associate of Science in Nursing Degree or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree. Programs can be found at community colleges, nursing schools, and universities, and courses may include Microbiology, Psychology, Anatomy, and Nutrition. After you graduate, you’ll need to obtain a registered nursing license before you can begin your career.


Obstetrics nurses can earn certification by taking the Inpatient Obstetric Nursing Certification exam administered by the National Certification Corporation. Before they are eligible to sit for the exam, they must work for 24 months in obstetrics, especially concentrating on labor and delivery. The exam covers several topics including disease processes, newborn resuscitation, pain management, fetal monitoring assessment, and obstetrical interventions. Test takers are allowed three hours to complete the exam, and results are received in approximately six weeks. Those who pass can use the initials RNC-OB after their name to indicate they have earned the credential. Certification is good for three years.


Your education as obstetrical registered nurse can prepare you to advance your career to become an OB/GYN practitioner. This job is known as an advanced practice registered nurse, which means the RN has earned a master’s degree or doctorate degree in nursing and has achieved certification by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Necessary Skills

Obstetrics nurses should have the following skills:

  • Good listening skills
  • Good critical thinking skills
  • The ability to teach others

Work Environment

Obstetrics nurses work in physicians’ offices, birthing centers, hospitals, and community clinics. Those who specialize as labor and delivery nurses have to be able to handle a fast-paced environment and at times, stressful situations.

Traveling Obstetrics Nurse

If you enjoy seeing different parts of the country, consider becoming  a traveling obstetrics nurse. Clinical practices differ from region to region, so you’ll need to be able to adapt your nursing skills to meet the needs of patients.

Job Outlook and Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job prospects for all nursing careers are expected to keep growing until 2018. As for the salary, Nursespay.com states obstetrical registered nurses who specialize in labor and delivery earned an average of $70,000. The starting salary ranges from $55,000 to $83,640, while the salary for experienced nurses ranges between $65,600 to $98,000. Location plays a large role in determining an obstetrics nurse’s salary.

To learn more about this exciting and rewarding nursing career, please contact us for additional information.