Obstetrical nursing is an exciting and challenging profession that requires care and patience. OB nurses deal with an entire family — from the baby to the grandparents, and to any individuals connected to the birth mother. You may need to comfort a nervous father, help a new baby learn how to breathe, rectify birth complications and shuffle paperwork. On the other hand, you will experience the joy of successful births, the relief of a productive first breast feeding, and the satisfaction of a complication that was resolved. While the OB nurse may occasionally deliver a baby if the doctor isn’t available, they do not have delivery privileges. In all cases, education is a vital foundation to a successful OB nursing career.

Duties of an OB Nurse

OB nurses assist with birthing in hospitals, free-standing birthing centers or in hospital birth center nurseries. Duties could include responsibility and assessment of babies, assignment of postpartum women for assessment and education about breast feeding and newborn care and assisting in birth at any stage of labor and delivery. OB Nurses also assist in triage, and may manage all cases on the unit.

Another option for OB nurses is to work telephone triage for obstectrics and gynecology. Most companies who hire for telephone triage prefer a degree and a decent amount of experience, especially if you plan to work from home. The duties in this position often involve delivering test results, advising and answering patient questions and scheduling for surgery or labor. Telephone triage requires an excellent phone manner to deal with sensitive topics, experience in women’s health and organization and attention to detail.

Related Types of Nurses

OB nurses often work triage with other nurses and midwives and neonatal nurses. A similar profession includes CNM (Certified Nurse Midwife), an individual who actually conducts deliveries and maintains a patient roster much as an Ob-Gyn would. The CNM is also an advanced nurse practitioner with an MSN and is a graduate of a two-year program for midwifery. Most programs now require that the nurse has two years of experience in labor and delivery before beginning a CNM program.

An OB nurse also is similar to women’s health nursing, which includes care related to the traditional areas of childbirth and reproductive issues. In addition, women’s health focuses on those diseases that affect women differently from men, such as heart disease and stroke, diabetes, depression, violence and abuse, and the issues related to caregiving. Most women’s health care nurses must go through the same education as the OB nurse.

OB Nurse Degrees

Individuals who wish to become an OB nurse will need an advanced nursing degree, RN to BSN degree, or LPN to BSN degree. If you’ve obtained a degree, you might make an appointment with the manager of an OB unit where you would like to work to discover more about their specific requirements. You may find that various units will require a specified amount of med-surg experience before they will consider you for hiring.

Online Programs in OB Nursing

  • Chamberlain College of Nursing: RN to BSN
  • Colorado Technical University: RN to BSN
  • Drexel University: RN to BSN
  • Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences: RN to BSN
  • Indiana State University: LPN to BSN
  • Kaplan University: RN to BSN
  • Liberty University: RN to BSN
  • South University: RN to BSN
  • University of Phoenix: RN to BSN

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Top 10 Online Nursing Schools

University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix — BSN, MSN, and Certificate. The University of Phoenix is the nation's largest online university and currently offers several nursing programs at three different degree levels, based on previous nursing education and experience.

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Kaplan University
Kaplan University — Bachelor's, and Master's Nursing Degrees. Kaplan's School of Nursing offers specializations for nurse administrators and nurse educators.

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Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University — BS in Nursing (BSN) and MBA/MS in Nursing. Grand Canyon University offers a unique MBA/MS in nursing degree program that teaches students about the business aspect of healthcare, specifically nursing healthcare. Current nurses who want more business experience will find this may be an ideal fit.

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Liberty University
Liberty University — RN to BSN Degree and MSN Degree. The Department of Nursing at Liberty prepares students for baccalaureate level nursing, putting strong emphasis on Christian ethical standards and viewing nursing as a ministry of caring.

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Walden University
Walden University — M.S. in Nursing (RN Track), M.S in Nursing (BSN Track). Walden offers a wide variety of nursing degrees and certificates that are all accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

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