What It Takes to Become a Labor & Delivery Travel Nurse
What is a Labor & Delivery Travel Nurse?
A travel nurse is a Registered Nurse who works in a specific location for a defined amount of time. A Labor and Delivery travel nurse is a travel nurse who works specifically in the specialty area of Labor and Delivery.
Labor & Delivery is one of the most in-demand specialties when it comes to travel nursing jobs. An L&D travel nurse is tasked with the same responsibilities as a traditional L&D nurse, but rather than working directly for a facility, they work for a travel nursing agency – typically through a dedicated recruiter. Travel nursing recruiters help to guide travel nurses through the entire process, setting them up on various travel nursing jobs in locations throughout the country, typically for 13 weeks at a time.
What Does a Labor and Delivery Nurse Do?
One of the most popular nursing professions, Labor & Delivery nurses provide care to women and their newborns during the stages of pregnancy and childbirth.
In addition to helping women throughout the labor and birthing process, L&D nurses care for those who experience delivery complications and assist the surgeon during a cesarean delivery. The L&D nurse monitors the mother and child, provide postpartum care and educate new moms on health issues related to post-delivery care as well as how to take care of their newborns. These nurses typically work in a hospital’s maternity department, but they may work in a freestanding birth center.
Reasons to Become a Labor & Delivery Travel Nurse
An LDRP has the amazing opportunity to guide women through one of life’s most transformative experiences: childbirth. That alone is incredibly rewarding, but as a Labor & Delivery travel nurse you’ll enjoy many other benefits too, including a higher salary. Housing is also paid for as you get to travel to new and exciting places, meet new people and make new friends. Perks like referral bonuses and/or completion bonuses may be provided along with health insurance and direct deposit. Fees for immunizations and licensure may be covered too.
Salary for Labor & Delivery Travel Nurses
The average annual pay for a Labor & Delivery Nurse in the United States is just over $107,000 per year. An L&D travel nurse can make much more than that, depending on the location, in addition to receiving free housing and other benefits. Earnings are typically highest in places like New York, Massachusetts and California. Lower rates are predominant in regions where there is a lower cost of living, while higher rates are primarily found in places with a higher cost of living, but there can be significant variations within specific regions.
How To Become a Labor and Delivery Travel Nurse
- Become a Licensed Registered Nurse
A Labor and Delivery travel nurse must first become a licensed Registered Nurse. To become a licensed RN you must graduate from a two year (Associate’s degree) or four year (bachelor’s degree) nursing program approved by your state Board of Nursing. Then the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN) must be taken and passed.
- Gain Experience As a Registered Nurse
Once the NCLEX-RN has been passed, you may begin working as a Registered Nurse. It is ideal for the nurse to acquire one year of experience in bedside nursing and it is often required that the nurse obtains experience as a Postpartum nurse before transitioning into the L&D Role. Travel L&D nurses are required to have a minimum of one year of experience in Labor and Delivery and many travel positions require two years of experience.
- Obtain Credentials and Certifications
Labor and Delivery Nurses are required to maintain certification in Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS). The Inpatient Obstetric Nursing (RNC-OB) certification is required by some hospitals and the RN must have two years of experience as an L&D nurse to be eligible to take the RNC-OB exam. Continuing education programs specific to Labor and Delivery nursing are offered by the National Certification Corporation (NCC).
- Compare Travel Nursing Companies
Once the required licenses, certifications and relevant experience are obtained, a nurse is eligible to become a travel L&D nurse. There are hundreds of travel nursing companies with L&D positions. A nurse should speak with several companies and compare what each company offers. Factors to consider when comparing travel nurse companies are: housing (agency based vs. stipend), benefits (medical, dental, 401k, completion bonus), salary (hourly wage, allowances, overtime), guaranteed hours policy, and travel nursing destinations (availability of jobs in the geographic location the nurse wants to work).
- Choose a Travel Nursing Company & Accept A Position
After comparing travel nursing companies and what each has to offer, the nurse will decide on a position and offered a contract. The travel nursing contract must be read carefully and fully understood. The nurse must ensure all questions are answered before signing the contract and accepting the position.