OB/GYN nursing is an ideal career for individuals interested in working with women and infants. This page explores OB/GYN nursing duties, where these nurses work, and what skills they possess. We also look at how to become an OB/GYN nurse, including education and certification requirements, salary potential, and job growth.
What Is an OB/GYN Nurse?
OB/GYN nurses work with expectant mothers and female patients throughout all stages of life and pregnancy. They are often the main point of contact for obstetrical patients, serving as a liaison between patients and physicians.
OB/GYN nurses help obstetricians and gynecologists perform a variety of tasks, supporting women during labor and delivery and regular patient care. They work in private practices and hospitals, midwife facilities, and private birthing centers.
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What Do OB/GYN Nurses Do?
While most OB/GYN nurses assist and support female patients before, during, and after pregnancy, their specific duties often vary by workplace. They may help patients explore their birth control and fertility treatment options, or select preventative measures like breast cancer screening or HPV vaccinations against cervical cancer. These nurses work closely with obstetricians and gynecologists to coach mothers through labor and delivery and ensure all patients receive quality, compassionate care.
OB/GYN nurses also assist with prenatal and obstetrical exams, including prenatal screenings, pelvic exams, ultrasounds, weight monitoring, and urine and blood sample collection. They help expectant mothers manage pain and discomfort associated with pregnancy as they prepare for childbirth.
Additionally, OB/GYN nurses employed in a hospital or birth center clean, vaccinate, weigh, measure, and monitor newborns, helping mothers recover after both labor and delivery. During abnormal pregnancy situations, OB/GYN nurses support patients who may be required to make difficult decisions directly affecting their child’s health.
Where Do OB/GYN Nurses Work?
While many OB/GYN nurses work alongside physicians in private practices, they enjoy a variety of career opportunities in many other settings. Some OB/GYN nurses work in hospital maternity wards or alongside midwives and doulas. Others pursue roles in family planning centers, private birthing centers, urgent care clinics, community clinics, and U.S. Army facilities. OB/GYN nurses apply their knowledge to many different healthcare environments, in any setting in which female patients require specialized care.
Skills That Could Affect OB/GYN Nurse Salaries
OB/GYN nurses must demonstrate strong communication skills while interacting with other medical professionals. Nurses must also explain treatments, care plans, and complex medical concepts in a way patients can understand.
Additionally, OB/GYN nurses should be compassionate and understanding. Many patients in OB/GYN settings are experiencing hormonal changes and are often physically uncomfortable. Effective nurses excel at understanding their patients’ needs and providing them with gentle, compassionate care.
Like other medical professionals, OB/GYN nurses must also be detail-oriented, observant individuals, and dedicated problem solvers. They need to understand every aspect of their patients’ situations to provide the highest level of care and attention.
How To Become an OB/GYN Nurse
The first step to becoming an OB/GYN nurse is earning an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing. ADN- or BSN-holders are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam. All prospective nurses must pass the NCLEX-RN exam before pursuing state RN licensure. Licensed nurses often gain clinical practice by working in women’s health-related settings, allowing them to cultivate valuable experience before seeking OB/GYN nursing credentials.
Some prospective OB/GYN nurses take advantage of specialization opportunities during their undergraduate studies. Other professionals prepare themselves for OB/GYN nursing certification by gaining entry-level work experience in the field.
Labor and Delivery Nurses vs. Neonatal Nurses
While labor and delivery nurses care for women and healthy newborn babies, neonatal nurses care for premature newborns and those born with illnesses. These nurses work in neonatal intensive care units (NICU), monitoring infants until they become strong or developed enough to leave the hospital. They also help families through the difficult post-delivery period.
Like OB/GYN nurses, neonatal nurses hold RN licenses, and the two nursing specialties both care for mothers and newborns. OB/GYN and neonatal nursing duties may overlap, with OB/GYN specialists assisting as labor and delivery nurses and neonatal nurses caring for infants who are born sick or too early.
Neonatal nurses tend to earn higher salaries than OB/GYN nurses, drawing a median annual wage of $64,074. Entry-level neonatal nurses start at a $52,208 median salary, while late-career professionals bring in $82,492.
OB/GYN Nurse Salaries and Job Growth
The national median salary for OB/GYN nurses is around $60,000. However, there are many factors that can influence earning potential, including location, education level, and professional experience. Nurses in some regions out-earn their counterparts in other areas, with OB/GYN nurses in Seattle, Washington, earning 20.1% more than the national average. Professionals in Austin, Texas, also enjoy lucrative job opportunities, where OB/GYN nurses draw an average salary 16.6% higher than the national average, according to PayScale.
Many prospective OB/GYN nurses begin their careers as registered nurses (RNs). RNs find the highest concentration of employment in the general medical and surgical hospitals field, with the pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industry paying the highest salaries. California hires more RNs than any other state, and RNs in California enjoy the nation’s highest wages.
Related Job Salaries
OB/GYN Nurse Resources
Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses
A nonprofit membership organization, AWHONN supports and empowers nurses who care for newborns, women, and their families through education, research, and advocacy. The association’s core values include a commitment to social and professional responsibility, excellence in nursing, respect for diversity, and accountability.
Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health
NPWH is a national professional membership and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring that women receive quality lifelong specialty and primary healthcare. The organization promotes and protects womens’ right to make personal healthcare choices that align with their religious, cultural, personal, and family beliefs.
National Association of Neonatal Nurses
NANN is a community of registered neonatal nursing professionals who strive to promote collaboration between healthcare providers and improve nursing practices. NANN aims to develop the connections and tools nurses need to advance their careers and evolve neonatal nursing as a profession.
Nurse.com Job Search
This website allows users to search for nursing jobs by selecting various criteria. Individuals can search for specific job titles or explore job postings by specialty. Users can also apply search filters by location and set distance parameters, restricting their employment search to job postings within a particular region or range.
American Nurses Association
This professional organization is committed to advancing the nursing profession, preventing injuries and illnesses, optimizing patient health and abilities, and diagnosing and treating individuals across communities and populations nationwide.
Nicole Galan, RN, MSN
Nicole Galan is a registered nurse who started on a general medical/surgical care unit and then moved to infertility care where she worked for almost 10 years. She has also worked for over 13 years as a freelance writer specializing in consumer health sites and educational materials for nursing students. Galan currently works as a full-time freelancer and recently earned her master’s degree in nursing education from Capella University.