An OB GYN nurse is a specialist in the treatment of pregnant women, as well as other issues concerning the female reproductive system. It is a rewarding career for those who like to help other people and there are excellent job opportunities in the field. However, the education programs are hard and there are stringent licensing requirements. Furthermore, the chances of getting injured at work are particularly high in this field. This means that you must carefully consider whether or not this is the right career for you.
About OB GYN Nursing
An OB GYN nurse is firstly a registered nurse (RN). This means that you must take part in an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) program or bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) program first. These programs will allow you to enter the workforce at an entry level, particularly if you choose the ADN option. It takes around two years to complete an ADN and around four years to complete a BSN. It is possible to do an RN to BSN bridge program, which can generally be completed in one and a half to two years and there are also a number of accelerated programs for those who already hold a bachelor’s degree in a different field.
In order to become an RN, you will need to study subjects such as psychology, anatomy, nutrition, microbiology, psychology and so on. Furthermore, you will need to spend a significant amount of time studying in clinical settings. Finally, particularly if you follow the BSN route, you will need to have courses in leadership, critical thinking and communication. Once you have completed your BSN or ADN, you can take the NCLEX-RN exam, which allows you to become a registered nurse.
Once you are an RN, you will need to enter the workforce and earn at least 2,000 hours in experience before you can take the Inpatient Obstetric Nursing exam offered by the National Certification Corporation. The 2,000 hours must have been done within the two years prior to taking the exam. It is recommended that you join organizations, such as AWHONN (Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses) to help them further your career.
What Jobs Does This Lead To?
Once you have completed your Inpatient Obstetric Nursing exam, you will be able to get to work in the field of OB GYN. Your overall duties are the same as those of registered nurses. Hence, you will prepare patients for their exams and procedures, work with test results, communicate with patients, ensure they receive the right treatment, monitor their progress, administer medication and work as part of a team with other health care providers. However, your goals are far more specialized than those of an RN. You will help doctors to ensure babies are born healthy and you will work with women to educate them on cervical and breast cancer for instance.
There are numerous places where you could get to work as an OB GYN nurse. Hospitals, private practices and women’s health clinics are some of the most popular ones. Within hospitals, you can choose further specialization, such as post-delivery patients, gynecological cancer patients, delivery units and so on. However, if you work in a hospital, you will have to work long shift hours and spend a lot of time on your feet. In all settings, there is a chance that you will have to work with patients with terminal illnesses, which can be very hard to deal with. Finally, an OB GYN nurse, like any other RN, must be aware of the fact that work-related injuries are very common.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics measured the mean annual salary of all RNs in 2011 and set it at $69,000. The average was slightly higher in hospitals and the highest in physician’s offices ($73,000). This represented an increase compared to the median salary in 2010. As an OB GYN, it is likely that you will earn slightly more than the average RN. It is important to understand that geographical location and type of clinics also have a great influence on salary. Indeed, the difference between two jobs that are exactly the same but in two different parts of the country can be as much as $25,000. The best areas to work as an OB GYN are Los Angeles and New York, while the worst are Orlando and Charlotte (North Carolina).
Job Outlook for OB GYN Nurses
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a significant shortage of nurses. This is particularly true for hospitals. This is due to several reasons. Firstly, the population is aging and presents an increasingly complex variety of health problems. Secondly, the baby boomers that make up a large part of the current workforce are retiring, which means more job openings. At present, the projection in job growth for all RNs until 2020 is 26%, far above the national average. The growth for OB GYN nurses is expected to be on par with that of regular nurses.