A Day in the Life of an OB Labor Nurse
By June Schaefers, RNC, labor and delivery nurse, Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center
When you’ve worked as an obstetrics registered nurse for 25 years, you start each day the same: with gratitude. I’m truly blessed. I’m allowed to share in the best miracle of all: time with my patients as they become parents.
Each shift of my workdays is filled with unique experiences, but the one constant is that I help ease anxious people who are nervous parents-to-be. No matter if it is their first, second or third baby, everyone fears pain. There’s really no way to avoid it.
That’s why compassionate care and support are such a big part of what I do. With the help of my teammates, we’re all working to guide families through the labor process, so we answer a lot of questions. We also spend a lot of time watching fetal monitors and helping both patients and families understand what the monitors tell us. They want to know what is happening and what to expect next. Just answering their questions and being there for them – and with them – is often what they most need.
Another constant to each day is my amazing coworkers. We’re like an orchestra and we rehearse, study and know our parts; our teamwork is like no other, and we have the best resources available to help moms and babies. Our priority is their health, and that goes from our doctors to our neonatal intensive care unit staff through the anesthesia team to all the nurses.
We’re all on the same page, and that helps us do our jobs efficiently. Here are some points of advice I would share to any mom-to-be who is coming in for delivery:
- We’ll do our best to control pain, but labor is going to hurt. It is unpredictable and can take longer than you think or wish.
- You may feel that it’s “the real deal” but you may be in early labor and sent back home until your labor progresses. It happens and if that’s what’s best, that’s what we’ll ask you to do. It’s not uncommon – it happens to more moms than you think.
- Make your wishes known when you carefully review your birth plan with your doctor and nurse well in advance of delivery. The best and safest experience possible comes when you have all the facts and your questions answered.
- Since things do not always go as planned, make sure you have your partner or support team so that they are there to support you through the labor process. Our priority is simple: the most important thing 100% of the time is a healthy baby and mom.
I’m so honored to be a part of bringing new life into this world. Each birth is such a miracle.
June is a wife and mother to three young adults; she is also “nanna” to two grandsons and another grandchild, a granddaughter, soon will be born.