Interview with Labor and Delivery Nurse Kimberly K.

May 14, 2011
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Kimberly K. is a Labor and Delivery nurse providing care for mothers and newborns at Northside Hospital’s Women’s Center in Atlanta, Georgia. This unit has the second highest annual delivery rate in the world and delivers over 18,000 babies per year. She received her Bachelor’s degree at Indiana University, in Indianapolis, Indiana. She has also worked at Wishard Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana and Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee.

What skills are required to become a Labor and Delivery nurse and where did you acquire yourskills?

To become a Labor and Delivery nurse you are required to complete a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN). I completed the Bachelor’s Degree at Indiana University. I also had to take a State Nursing Certification Board Exam to earn my nursing license. I was also required to take a three month “On the Job Training” in Labor and Delivery that included: Life Saving Techniques for Newborns and Mothers, and fetal monitoring, all under the guidance of a seasoned nurse.

What led to your choice of becoming a Labor and Delivery nurse?

I’ve always felt drawn to nursing, but the major factor that led me to Labor and Delivery nursing was the nurses and doctors that helped me get through that time of my life during my pregnancy and they treated me like a valued human. I wanted to help people through their pregnancy like I was helped through mine. I wanted to provide encouragement and acceptance to all women.

What are the main responsibilities of a Labor and Delivery nurse?

My responsibilities include: coordination of care, physician notifications and referral, social service involvement where appropriate, as well as documentation, patient admission, assessment, and medication administration and monitoring. I am also with the patient from admission through delivery to recovery whether delivery takes place in the patient’s room or by c-section in the operating room.

Do you enjoy being a Labor and Delivery nurse? Why or why not?

The job includes a high level of interaction with doctors, families, and other health care providers. Most of the time I do enjoy my job, but there are times when I feel overwhelmed. These include when there are staff shortages or when we have complications resulting in a baby’s or mother’s death. Though I am experienced in handling these situations, it is a very difficult part of the job. The joy I receive in bringing life into the world far outweighs any negatives that come with the job.

What is the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is getting to know and connecting with people. I have found in my position that I am often able to bond and connect with my patients and their families. I realize that this is a very special event and I want to do what I can to make this a great experience for them. By taking the time to get to know each of them in depth, I am able to deliver personal care and make this a rewarding and memorable experience for them as well as for myself.

What is the hardest part of your job?

The most difficult part of my job is losing a baby. No matter how often it happens, you never get used to this. It’s very hard emotionally with the families, but I do my best to provide comfort and sympathy during this time and to make sure the baby’s body is respectfully cared for.

What advice would you have for someone entering this profession?

The most important advice I could give is that this profession is not for squeamish individuals. It can be intense at times but it is very rewarding. You work with women and families from all walks of life and have an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of a newborn, their mother, and their families.

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