When you qualify as an LPN, you certainly are not required to stop there. There are a number of different areas that an LPN can become a specialist in through experience and some additional training. A popular option for LPNs involves moving from LPN to maternity nurse status within the hospital where they work. The steps involved in achieving this are easy enough for someone who is dedicated to the profession and who really wants to become a maternity nurse soon.
LPN Maternity Nurses
A maternity LPN is an LPN who works in the maternity ward assisting with the birthing process and providing care before, during, and after labor. The tasks of a maternity LPN may include the following:
- Helping the doctor deliver babies
- Assisting the mother with pain management during the birth process
- Checking patient vital signs
- Helping with care of the baby and mother after the birth
- Making sure that the birthing experience is exactly as the mother and father want it to be
To be designated as an LPN maternity nurse you will need to have appropriate experience in the field. Consequently it is suggested that, when doing your required clinical training during your LPN program, you spend as much time as allowed in maternity settings. Once you are an LPN with experience in maternity it can be a useful stepping stone to becoming an RN with a specialization in neonatal nursing, although this will require additional training and certification.
Brining children into the world is a very rewarding career to pursue. However it can also be very depressing and difficult in the case of difficult or problematic and unsuccessful births.
As the educational requirements for this line of work are basic (including a high school diploma or equivalent, a qualification from an accredited LPN school, and an LPN license), the main requirements lie in your personality. There are some nurses who are simply not suited for work in a maternity ward. If you do not meet the following personality requirements, this may not be the best line of work for you:
- You must be patient. This is the most important skill for any nurse, but in maternity nursing it plays a special role as expectant parents are often overly concerned about the outcome of the process.
- You need to be willing to work the long hours required as well as to be on call at all times as labor can begin at a moment’s notice and without much prior warning to prepare you.
- People skills are also important as you will work with a variety of different people on a daily basis. This is also linked to the essential communication skills that nurses in all areas are required to have.
- Last but not least you must be decisive as life-saving decisions must sometimes be made on the spur of the moment.
How To Become A Maternity LPN
There are a number of steps involved in transitioning from being an LPN to maternity nurse. It is interesting to note, first off, that as an LPN you will automatically be allowed to work in a maternity ward under the supervision as an RN. Consequently the first steps in the process involve becoming an LPN, or licensed practical nurse.
You can begin preparing for a career such as this one in high school, if you are already aware of where you would like to go in terms of your career path. Subjects such as math, biology, health, and English will be useful as well as any foreign language or computer science courses your school offers. The best person to turn to for advice would be your school’s career counselor. He or she can provide you with information regarding the best subjects to take for a career in maternity nursing.
Use nursing websites to search for nursing schools that offer LPN programs within your state. Different states have different rules regarding how nurses are regulated. Attending a program within your own state will improve your chances of finding an accredited program. Good websites to consider are:
You will then need to narrow dow3n the list of options as, in many states, there are a variety of LPN program options to choose from. You should consider:
- Whether or not the school is accredited (if it is not there is not much value in enrolling in it)
- How far away it is from where you live and what the tuition fees are
- Whether or not the students that have attended that school have successfully completed the examination and found jobs as nurses
- How many students the school enrolls a year
Once you have narrowed down your options, apply to at least three of them, keeping the school-specific application processes in mind each time you apply for a different school. Select a school from among those that accept you that best meets your needs and enroll.
Complete the training program. This will only take you one year to become an LPN which will then allow you to work in a maternity setting under the direction and supervision of a registered nurse. although becoming a registered nurse, or RN, will take many more years of study, you will be able, after gaining experience in a maternity setting, to become an advanced nurse practitioner in the field of maternity which will open more career doorways for you and improve your salary expectations. The options that you may have as an RN include:
- Becoming a certified nurse midwife
- Becoming a neonatal nurse practitioner
To finally become an LPN you will need to write and pass the NCLEX-PN examination that is written after you completed your education and training in nursing. This examination will allow you to apply for licensure as an RN and then work as a maternity nurse in a hospital or other settings.
During your training it is suggested that you take as many courses related specifically to neonatal nursing and maternity situations as possible as this will greatly improve your chances of moving from LPN to maternity nurse status in a health care environment. In addition there are a number of continuing education units with a focus on maternity and related issues that you could take. This is a great opportunity to improve your skills in the area as CEUs are compulsory in order to become relicensed as an LPN. Taking advantage of the courses on offer is a good way to improve your chances.
Although the basic education that you need to be a maternity LPN lies in earning an LPN qualification, it is still a good idea to pursue specific educational goals in the area of maternity nursing itself. The main reason for this is that it will improve your employment opportunities and make you a more impressive option for prospective employers. The good news is that these additional education qualifications can be obtained online. There are a number of advantages to studying online:
- You will not have to quit your current job while you pursue an educational qualification in maternity nursing
- You will be able to study at flexible hours and in your own time, so it need not impact on your daily activities very much at all
- It tends to be cheaper to study online
However it is essential that you only enroll in online programs and schools that are appropriately accredited. In addition it is important to remember that often additional education units such as these require you to complete a practical dimension of your studies. With online courses it will often be your own responsibility to find somewhere to complete the practical aspect of your training.
Perhaps the most noticeable aspect of the working environment for an LPN to maternity nurse is the fact that it is not always certain when and where you will be needed. Women go into labor at unexpected times and you may, as a result of this, be on call to attend a birth at a moment’s notice. The emotional aspect of the job can also make it very stressful, especially when cases where a baby is lost for whatever reason. Like other nurses you may also be subjected to shift work which may not always be convenient for you. This is, however, part of the job and cannot be ignored as most nurses are required to work shifts at some point in their lives.
Another aspect of this line of work to consider is the fact that you will be able to work in a variety of different settings. These settings include hospitals, which generally have maternity wards. They also include clinics specifically aimed at mother and baby care as well as doctor’s offices where the doctor’s primary role involves seeing pregnant women or newborn babies. In addition there are educational roles that you could fulfill in this line of work.
The job outlook for this career is an extremely good one indeed. Nursing in general is expected to grow substantially between now and the year 2020. This, at a very basic level, means that any career in nursing is a stable one that comes with guaranteed job security. In addition to that maternity nurses have skills that make them marketable across the country, and they can seek employment in a number of different settings. Rural settings, for example, are excellent locations for maternity nurses to seek employment as often these areas are not served by health care professionals. Because basic LPN training is required to become an LPN maternity nurse, you will also be able to work in any health care setting where you are not required to have a specialization. You will, in short, be employable anywhere where a regular LPN can seek employment. Making transitions to more advanced lines of work is also easy form the starting point of being a maternity LPN as you will be able to step into gynecology (for example) with the greatest of ease.
The following are the basic figures that you will probably earn as an LPN:
- Hourly Rate: $13.38 – $23.17
- Overtime: $13.16 – $34.16
- Bonus: $0.00 – $1,005
- Total Pay: $27,913 – $50,544
However it is interesting and also important to remember that these are the base figures for LPNs who do not have any special skills in a specific area. Often LPNs with maternity nursing skills are eligible for more than this on an hourly and annual basis because of their expertise. This will, however, depend on the policies of your employer. There are a number of reasons why your specific salary may vary. For example different industries tend to pay LPNs slightly different rates:
- In Healthcare you can expect to earn something in the region of $13.41 – $23.58 an hour
- In Long-term Care/Rehabilitation you can expect to earn something in the region of $13.78 – $23.64 an hour
- In a Nursing Home you can expect to earn something in the region of $13.53 – $23.52 an hour
- In Family Medicine you can expect to earn something in the region of $13.15 – $22.97 an hour
- In a Hospital you can expect to earn something in the region of $13.74 – $24.10 an hour
Moving from LPN to maternity nurse status is easier than you may have initially thought. One thing to keep in mind here is that it is a fairly popular line of work for nurses to select, meaning that there may be a great deal of competition. Consequently it is wise to have a few choices in mind if your want to sharpen your skills in a particular area so that you will not be disappointed or limited if you cannot ge5t into this line of work quickly.