Postpartum nurses, also referred to as mother-baby nurses, specialize in attending to the physical and emotional health needs of female patients along with their newborns after the labor process is finished. These nurses are responsible for making sure that both the mother and her baby are well cared for up until they're discharged from the hospital. The very best postpartum nurses are non-judgmental, compassionate, patient, and understanding. In addition to caring for the physical and emotional well-being of their patients, a large portion of the postpartum nurse's job is to teach new parents important skills, such as changing diapers, feeding the baby, and more.
What Are Some Postpartum Nurse Duties?
A few job duties that postpartum nurses are tasked with may include:
Monitor vital signs of the mother and newborn
Continually assess the mother and newborn for signs of symptoms that could point to complications such as postpartum hemorrhage, postpartum depression, or failure to thrive
Clean the newborn
Dispense antibiotics and/or pain medication as needed
Educate new parents on how to care for newborns after they leave the hospital
Assist mothers to establish a breastfeeding relationship
Work alongside doctors and other nursing staff to ensure that the plan of care is being followed
Remove catheters following successful deliveries
Assist new mother with the emotional aspects of recovery after giving birth
Support new mothers in their decisions
Reinforce the new mother's ability and aptitude in caring for her baby
Refer parents to additional resources like support groups
Check caesarian incisions if needed
Where Do Postpartum Nurses Work?
Postpartum nurses work hard to ensure the recovery and safety of new moms and their infants and can be found in any birthing setting, to include:
Maternity or postpartum units of hospitals
How to Become a Postpartum Nurse
Before you can begin your career as a postpartum nurse, you'll need to learn the basics of nursing in theory and practice during your Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN) from an accredited college or university. During these years you'll gain important theoretical knowledge and skills which will serve as an important foundation which your career as a postpartum nurse will be built upon. Students who are prospective postpartum nurses are advised to enroll in courses which are specific to neonatal care, maternal health, and obstetrics. Experience on a labor and delivery ward or OBGYN practice is helpful as well.
Step 1: Educational Requirements
To become a postpartum nurse, the following educational requirements must be met:
Earn an Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN) from an accredited college or university
Pass the NCLEX-RN prelicensure exam
Hold an active and unrestricted RN license
*Those wishing to rapidly advance in their nursing careers should strongly consider attending a graduate degree program (i.e. MSN, DNP, or Ph.D.)
Do Postpartum Nurses Need an RN Degree?
Yes, due to the highly specialized training and expertise needed to identify complex issues post-birth, postpartum nurses are required to hold active and unencumbered RN licenses.
There are a number of certifications which postpartum nurses can choose from. The two main certifications are the Maternal Newborn Nursing (RNC-MNN) certification and the Electronic Fetal Monitoring certification. Both certifications can be acquired through the National Certification Corporation.
Have no less than 24 months of experience with at least 2000 hours of practice time in the specialty
Documentation of employment history
Postpartum Nurse Jobs, Salary & Employment
In the coming years - because over 40 percent of the workforce is at least 50 years old - the U.S. is expected to go through a critical nursing shortage as baby boomers begin to exit the workforce in mass. As this happens, there will be plenty of vacancies for new nurses. Job prospects continue to be solid in birthing centers and hospital maternity wards.
Job Description & Information
Essential Skills Needed - Excellent interpersonal communication abilities, compassion, in-depth clinical skills, strong organizational abilities, patience, teaching skills, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, assessment capabilities, attention to detail, mental and emotional strength, empathy
Job Outlook - The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that the number of jobs within the nursing sector will grow by approximately 16% between 2014 and 2024. With no shortage of babies being born, postpartum nurses should enjoy a favorable employment outlook as well.
What Is the Average Salary of a Postpartum Nurse?
According to ZipRecruiter, as of 2019, the average yearly salary for a postpartum nurse is about $90,314, but can range considerably. Annual salaries may vary depending on the location of employment, the employer, years of experience, as well as the education credentials and certifications of the nurse. It's common for most postpartum nurses to receive benefits packages which typically medical insurance, paid vacation/sick leave, and more.