Obstetrics and gynecology nurses, also known as OB nurses, OB/GYN nurses, or perinatal nurses, are registered nurses who care for female patients during pregnancy, labor, and childbirth, as well as providing them with postpartum care. OB nurses play a vital role during this critical period during a women's life. They work closely alongside obstetricians, midwives, and nurse practitioners to provide much needed support to women as they transition into motherhood and experience a wide variety of emotional and physical changes. Because OB nurses are so essential to the ushering of new life into the world, this specialty can be one of the most exciting and rewarding in the broader nursing field.
What Are Some OB Nurse Duties?
Tasks and duties commonly carried out by OB nurses may include:
Perform post-operative care on a surgical unit
Perform cardiac monitoring, stress test monitoring, and vascular monitoring
Administer medications via intravenous drip
Assist obstetrician with pelvic exams, urine and blood sample collection, ultrasounds, and prenatal screenings
Help to manage any pain that the expectant mother may be experiencing
Educate patients on birth control options
Clean, weigh, measure, vaccinate, and continuously monitor newborns
When any complications during the pregnancy arise, assist expectant mothers to make hard decisions that will affect both their own as well as their baby's health
Where Do OB Nurses Work?
OB nurses help deliver babies in a variety of medical facilities. Common workplaces include:
Hospital maternity wards
Family planning centers
Private birthing centers
Urgent care clinics
Obstetrics & Gynecology (OB/GYN) offices
How to Become an Obstetrics (OB) Nurse
OB nurses need the right combination of nursing education, experience in the field, and passion for treating women and newborn babies. Those interested in entering this field of nursing should work towards the following if they want to find success in the role.
Step 1: Educational Requirements
Earn an Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN) from an accredited college or university. Many hospitals now prefer a BSN.
Pass the NCLEX-RN exam
Acquire RN license through the state's nursing governing body
Acquire relevant clinical experience in OB/GYN, labor and delivery, or related area of care
Do Obstetrics Nurses Need an RN Degree?
Yes, OB nurses are required to have active and unrestricted RN licenses if they're going to practice in their respective specialty field. In addition to being licensed as an RN, they should also have a substantial amount of experience within the field before they're eligible for the specialty certification.
Hold a current, active, and unencumbered RN license
At minimum, have at least 24 months of clinical experience in an obstetrics setting
Obstetrics Nurse Jobs, Salary & Employment
As the populous millennial generation heads into their 20s and 30s, more and more of them will begin to start families and have children. Future OB nurses should expect to play a crucial role in helping to meet the care demands that will be needed as a result of more babies being born.
Essential Skills Needed - Detailed, organized, compassionate, emotional stability, ability to work well under stress, strong critical thinking skills, excellent interpersonal communication abilities, empathetic
Job Outlook - The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects job growth within the nursing field to increase by 16% through the year 2024. Because the populous millennial generation is now reaching childbearing age, it's reasonable to assume that the demand for OB nurses will also grow in the coming years
What Is the Average Salary of an OB Nurse?
According to PayScale.com, OB nurses earn an average annual wage of around $62,000. The earning potential of OB nurses will depend on factors like the geographical location of their employment, their employer, how much experience they have, and their education level. Those OB nurses who maintain full-time employment can expect to receive employee benefit packages which include the likes of medical, vision, dental, and prescription drug coverage, as well as a bit of sick leave and paid vacation time. These too will vary from employer to employer.