As an LPN there are a number of specific career paths within nursing that you will have the opportunity to pursue. A popular career path involves moving from LPN to maternity nurse status. Maternity nurses essentially work with babies and pregnant and new mothers, making it a very appealing line of work to many nurses. However the path to becoming a maternity nurse as an LPN may not suit everyone. In the same way the job itself is not necessarily well suited to all nurses.
LPN Maternity Nurses
Maternity nurses are, as the name implies, nurses who assist in situations where a mother is giving birth. In many cases the maternity LPN will also be required to assist the mother and the baby after they have given birth and nurse them accordingly. Pain management during labor is another key task of the average maternity LPN, as is checking the vital signs of both the mother and the baby during and after the birthing process. The tasks of an LPN who is working as a maternity nurse will be limited to an assisting role as the main duties will be performed by an RN. It is a very good career path to pursue if you are thinking of perhaps becoming a neonatal nurse or certified nurse midwife in the future as it is a useful stepping stone to achieving greater things and provides you with invaluable experience for achieving your career objectives. To become an RN and then a certified nurse midwife or neonatal nurse you will have to undergo a fair amount of additional education. This will take time, however, so becoming a maternity LPN can give you a taste and help you decide whether you are willing to commit to the lengthy study program.
The basic educational requirements of the job are that you have:
- A high school diploma or an equivalent thereof
- A qualification form an accredited LPN training program
- An LPN license
While you are still in school or training to be an LPN you can volunteer as a candy striper in a maternity ward to gain experience. This will greatly improve your chances of finding employment once you have qualified.
Aside from these requirements there are personality traits that will stand you in good stead when moving from LPN to maternity nurse status. For one thing you will, like most nurse sin most situations, need to be patient. This also requires that you have4 excellent people skills as well as an ability to communicate easily with all sorts of people. This is an essential trait for nurses who are required to work with a variety of different patients in a variety of different situations every day. You must also be prepared to work long hours when it is required with you as this is a key aspect of any nursing job. Last but not least you will need to be able to make quick decisions.
How To Become A Maternity LPN
Ideally you need to start thinking about becoming a maternity nurse while you are still in high school (although this is not a strict requirement). The following subjects may help you in this regard:
- Four years of science and math
- One to two years of health
- Four years of English
- A foreign language
- Some computer science
If the options at your school are different, talk to a career counselor about the best way to move forward in your high school career.
The next step involves searching for nursing schools that may be able to offer LPN programs and also LPN to maternity nurse programs in your state. Because different states tend to have different rules for governing the activities of nurses, it is very important that the school you enroll in meets all of the requirements for your particular state. Some good websites to consider when doing this search are:
There are a number of criteria that you could use to narrow down your choice of nursing school, including the following:
- Enrollment size
- Academic format
It is very important that you apply to several different schools at this point of the process as this will increase your chances of speedy acceptance. In addition it is very important that you pay careful attention to the specific application procedures and requirements of each specific school as they tend to vary vastly. Once you have been accepted, select the best option for you from the list and enroll according to the enrolment rules of that school.
You will only need to spend one year at the school to become an LPN or licensed practical nurse. What is more, as a licensed practical nurse you will automatically be qualified to work in a maternity ward, if that is the ward in which you would like to work.
Note: It is also possible to spend many more years at school and become an RN (or registered nurse). This could allow you to become a certified nurse midwife or a neonatal nurse practitioner once you have completed all of the necessary training and received the necessary experience. This takes longer, but it will certainly cement your presence in the area of maternity nursing. Any maternity experience you receive as an LPN will make it easier for you to specialize in the field as an RN later on in your career and could be seen as a stepping stone to greater things.
In order to complete your LPN to maternity nurse course of action you will need to take the examination offered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) that will license you as an LPN and gain you access to maternity wards in hospitals.
In order to be a successful LPN maternity nurse you will need to have completed two main aspects:
- You must have experience in general nursing
- You must have completed training in courses such as general maternity care and courses that are specific to the mother and the baby
In addition to this you can also make use of your compulsory continuing education units (CEUs) to improve your knowledge regarding maternity and everything surrounding it. CEUs have to be completed so you may as well use them to your advantage and pursue your career goals.
Once you have completed all of these steps you can begin seeking employment as a maternity nurse LPN in the following settings:
- Community health centers
- Doctor’s offices
- Health departments
- Birth centers
- Adult education centers
The basic nursing qualification that you need for this line of work is an LPN qualification and license. There is not much more that you officially need. However you will find that it is far easier to seek employment in this line of work if you have completed training of some kind. Training shows that:
- You are dedicated to the profession and are willing to go the extra mile to achieve excellence
- You probably have knowledge that other candidates for the position may not possess
There are a number of online and distance education programs though which you can do additional training once you are an LPN to speed up your transition from LPN to maternity nurse status. It is essential that these programs are accredited by the appropriate bodies. If they are not you will effectively be wasting both your time and your money on them as they will not be taken seriously by an employer. Also stick to those programs that will provide you with hard proof of your training, such as a certificate, as this will be more useful when applying for a job and citing your previous qualifications.
The work environment for maternity LPNs is basically in any setting where women are either expecting babies soon, or have already given birth to a child and require post-partum care. This may seem fairly limiting, but it is important to remember that this could also include areas where education regarding maternity and the issues surrounding it is also required. Consequently the vast number of areas in which a maternity nurse can work include the following:
- Doctor’s offices
- Outpatient clinics
- Patients’ homes
- Any setting where women receive reproductive health services
For an LPN interested in maternity nursing there are a number of settings available between which they will be able to choose.
As an LPN your tasks in the maternity ward will be limited and depend largely on what your overseeing RN allows you to do. An important thing to note about the working environment of an maternity LPN is that you will be on call at all times and may be required to drop what you are doing and be present at a birth at a moment’s notice. Consequently the environment can be inconvenient and fairly stressful to be in.
From the basic starting point of being a maternity LPN there are a number of career advancement options for you. For example you could, through further study, choose to become an RN with a specialization in midwifery or neonatal nursing. In addition a jump to gynecology or obstetrics would also be a very natural one for you to make as a maternity LPN. After many years of experience you may become the manager of a maternity ward, and there will also be the option of becoming an educator for the next generation of maternity nurses. In addition, because you need to undergo general LPN training in order to become a maternity LPN, you will then be able to work in many different health care settings. This essentially allows you to change your mind about the career path that you would like to pursue.
Nursing is one of the industries in which we expect to see enormous growth over the next few years. This means that you will be guaranteed of job security and stability. In addition there will always be new children being born to this world, meaning that there will always be employment for maternity nurses.
The average hourly rate for an LPN is about $13.38 – $23.17. If you have specific and proven skills as a maternity LPN you may well be eligible for more on an hourly basis. In addition you may be eligible for overtime rates of about $13.16 – $34.16 an hour as an LPN, and again the rates may be higher if you have proven skills as a maternity LPN. Some LPNs are eligible for a bonus, which can be between $0.00 and $1,005 a year, and the overall salary for an LPN a year is about $27,913 – $50,544. There are a number of reasons why your specific salary may vary. For example different employers tend to pay LPNs slightly different rates:
- Maxim Healthcare Services Inc. pays its LPNs something in the region of $15.64 – $22.10 an hour
- DaVita Inc. pays its LPNs something in the region of $13.55 – $22.41 an hour
- Kindred Healthcare pays its LPNs something in the region of $15.44 – $23.84 an hour
- HCR Manor Care Inc. pays its LPNs something in the region of $16.19 – $24.54 an hour
- Life Care Centers of America pays its LPNs something in the region of $14.08 – $26.37 an hour
There are several LPN to maternity nurse programs that you can complete in order to reach that status level. However there is nothing that is more valuable than actual experience within a maternity setting. If you have the opportunity to work as an LPN in the maternity ward or on the maternity floor in your hospital, take it. The more experience you have the more successful you will be in pursuing your dream of becoming a licensed practical nurse with the ability to work in maternity settings.