Choosing an OB Nursing Environment

by Angela Stevens on June 14, 2010

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It is amazing the things you can learn about people when you are watching them work. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a naturally inquisitive person. When I’m nervous or bored, that curiosity gets ramped way up. When I was pregnant, I spent a lot of time in my doctor’s office, and then quite a bit of time in the maternity ward. During this time, I chatted with the nurses that were taking care of me. I had quite a lot of time to chat as it turned out, especially with the OB nurses in my doctor’s office. I asked them what they liked about working in an office rather than in the maternity ward at the hospital, and I asked the opposite question to the nurses that worked on the OB floor of the hospital. The answers I received were quite enlightening.


First, it was obvious that both types of OB nurses really enjoy working with pregnant women and their newborn babies. The biggest difference was the type of environment and amount they individually wanted to work. Almost all of the nurses at the doctor’s office told me they liked being in the office because it gave them more regular hours and they were able to enjoy the fun parts of pregnancy without having to be stressed about emergency situations. If a patient did come in with a serious complication, they were sent to the hospital, making the office less stressful for the nurses. After talking with these women for nine months, I realized that they all had a few traits in common. All of them were passionate about women’s health, they all needed a regular schedule, and they all enjoyed the routine of the office.

While I was in the hospital, after giving birth to my son, I had five different nurses on the floor and one that was with me through the delivery. While these women were equally passionate about women’s health, specifically working with pregnant women and newborns, there were many differences in why they chose their work location. The biggest difference was that the nurses in the hospital all said they liked having a different work schedule and having days off during the week on occasion. Many of them would work 12 or more hours at a time, then have several days off. They told me this flexibility was great and they liked having the time off during the “regular” workweek to take care of tasks that had to be done during regular business hours. They also had the opportunity to work overtime and earn more money. Finally, working in the hospital paid more than working in a private practice. Of course, the downside was that these OB nurses do have a more stressful environment, but almost all of them said they thrive on the challenges that change daily.

If you want to work as an OB nurse, these are two very different environments that would allow you to accomplish this goal. Which environment would you prefer and why?


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