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Career Story: Nurse In A Hospital's Maternity Unit

Nurse In A Hospital's Maternity Unit

Job Title: Obstetrical Nurse

Type of Company: I work for a large community hospital on Boston's south shore.

Education: BSN, Nursing, UMass-Boston

Previous Experience: I was a certified nurse's assistant at the Mayflower Pediatric Center during college, but shifted to the hospital where I currently work, on the Pediatric floor, to gain experience once I graduated. One night I floated to OB and I fell in love with the brand new babies! I knew it was my dream job and I asked for a transfer. Now I take care of new moms and babies every day.

Job Tasks: In the morning I get my patient assignments, along with reports on them which tell me how they're feeling, if they're having any problems, what medications they're taking, if their babies are healthy or sick, and if they're going home that day. Then I go around and meet them, check their vital signs and seeing if they need anything. The rest of the day somehow seems to always get crazy busy. Visitors come and patients need help taking care of their babies and new moms are admitted after their babies are born and there's just always something that needs to be done! New moms always need a lot of help breast feeding their babies, which takes a lot of time. But they are so grateful once they learn how to do it. At the end of the day, I give reports to a new nurse who will be taking over the care of my patients, and then I go home.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is knowing I am helping people. The moms have so much to learn and some of them are so nervous. The dads are really nervous too. It's a great feeling knowing I am helping a new family to bond. And the babies are so cute and sweet!

The hardest part is that a lot of times three patients want me at the same time. I'm only one person and I can't be everywhere at once. It's difficult to take your time with one patient knowing another patient also needs you, but all you can do is try your best to meet every patient's needs in the most efficient manner possible and always keep a smile on your face no matter what.

Job Tips:
1. The first thing I would say is go for your BSN. Some places will hire you with an RN degree, but you will have many more options and much more respect with a BSN degree.

2. I would also say to get a year of medical surgery experience before you jump into a specialty field. A lot of new grads want to go right to their specialty as soon as they're a nurse, but the skills you learn on the medical surgery floors are invaluable and will help you throughout your whole career, even if acquiring them may not be your "dream job".

3. Being able to stay calm and cool in a crisis is key. You may be freaking out on the inside, but you can never let it show on the outside in front of your patients. Always be prepared to expect the unexpected in nursing.

Additional Thoughts: Don't be too hard on yourself. Situations will always come up where you'll look back and think "I could have done that better". But nursing teaches you that no one is perfect. Life is a learning experience and we are all a team working through it together.

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