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Career Story: Obstetrical Nurse In A Small Community Hospital

Obstetrical Nurse In A Small Community Hospital

Job Title: Obstetrical Nurse

Type of Company: I work for a small community hospital in northwestern Montana.

Education: MS, Nursing, Montana State University

Previous Experience: I was an army nurse for four and a half years and then took an obstetrical nursing course.

Job Tasks: A nurse's job is to assist in providing a comfortable environment in which a patient can recover from illness. Since I work in a small community hospital, with a birth rate of only about sixteen children a month, I often take care of medical or surgical patients. If a women comes into the hospital in labor or with a pregnancy complication, I will shift gears and care for her. Birth is a natural process, of course, and in most cases an obstetrical patient isn't ill, just someone who needs to be watched and then educated afterward.

On a daily basis, I do an assessment from head to toe on every patient. I check their orientation level, listen to lungs, heart, tummy sounds. I assess their pain level, look at wounds or surgical sites to make sure there is no sign of infection. I check their blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, temperature. I deliver medication and instruct them on it if it is new. I organize and coordinate meetings with physical therapists or social workers, as their cases require.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: I have always loved obstetrical nursing. I love working with the moms both during labor and after delivery. I love the little babies and I enjoy teaching a new mom about how to care for her baby, as well as what she can expect during recovery from childbirth or a C-Section.

The worst part of my job is having to assist with cases that fall outside my field of specialization: neurological or cardiac problems, for example. It makes me very nervous to be responsible for these patients when I don't feel as knowledgeable as I would like to be about their condition.

Job Tips: If you enjoy people and care about them, nursing is a great field to get into. In a struggling economy, you can usually find a job wherever you are and there are areas of interest for both men and women. For instance, my husband started out in nursing and them got a masters as a CRNA. He now works with an anesthesiologist putting people under for surgery and does pain blocking for women in labor or patients with chronic pain.

Additional Thoughts: Nursing school is hard work but it is doable. There are many assistance programs out there to help you with the cost of your education too. I went to college on an Army ROTC scholarship which paid for my books and tuition. Then I worked as an army nurse for 4 1/2 years. I loved the Army; it was fun, I met tons of neat people (including the man I married 17 years ago) and I got to travel a lot.

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