Today, the work of labor and delivery nurses (L&D nurses) is extremely important and responsible because the quality of their work affects consistently the quality of health care services delivered to women and newborns. In this regard, it is important to remember that, today, many women have problems with labor and delivery because of their age, health problems and other factors that make the natural process of labor and delivery difficult. In such a context, the role o L&D nurses can hardly be underestimated because their qualification and experience may be crucial for the successful delivery. At the same time, in the contemporary health care environment, the job of L&D nurses is basically similar to the job of other nurses in terms of qualification, education, skills and wages. In such a situation, human resource managers often face problems with motivation of L&D nurses. This is why human resource managers should focus on the use of non-material motivators, which may be very effective. On the other hand, they should pay a lot of attention to training and education of L&D nurses because their qualification plays crucial role in the provision of proper and effective health care services to women and newborn in the course of the labor and delivery. Therefore, L&D nurses should have a wide range of nursing skills and abilities, high qualification and solid education background, whereas human resource managers should keep them motivated to carry on their professional development and provide nursing care services of the high quality.
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On analyzing specificities of the job of L&D nurses and their workplace environment in terms of human resource management, specialists (Limentani, 1999) argue that education affects consistently the performance of L&D nurses and the effectiveness of their work. In this regard, it is possible to dwell upon basic educational requirements L&D nurses should meet in the contemporary health care setting.
First of all, L&D nurses should have the Bachelor degree because the essential education for L&D nurses is the Bachelor of Science in Nursing. However, the bachelor degree is a minimal requirement, whereas often a Master of Science in Nursing degree is needed. The high qualification is one of the essential conditions of the successful professional development of L&D nurses because they need to have a solid educational background and profound knowledge in labor and delivery nursing. Naturally, the experience of L&D nurses is also very important but they acquire their experience as they carry on their education and professional development. The Bachelor and Master degrees are very important because they provide L&D nurses not only with certain status but also and mainly they provide them with basic education on the ground of which they can elaborate the strategy of their professional development and keep growing in professional terms.
Furthermore, L&D nurses should have a registered nurse license from their state board of nursing (Ryan and Ray, 2004). This is another important requirement L&D nurses should meet because the registered nurse license is a sort of guarantee of the current professional level and competence of L&D nurses. Registered nurses cannot work without license but L&D nurses should strive to obtain the license because the license opens new job opportunities for them and, what is more, contributes to their further professional development.
In such a context, many specialists (Benoff & Grauman, 1997) place emphasis on the fact that L&D nurses should take training and get involved in courses in a L&D nursing program. In actuality, a large number of training programs is available to L&D nurses and it is one of the major tasks of human resource managers to motivate L&D nurses to participate in training programs. They should explain L&D nurses positive effects of training programs for their professional development. In fact, training programs increase the professional level of L&D nurses and, therefore, increase the quality of nursing care services they deliver to patients.
However, sometimes L&D nurses have poor motivation and they need the assistance from the part of human resource managers to participate in training programs. This is a case of experienced L&D nurses mainly because they feel confident in their professional skills and abilities, they have extensive experience, and they believe they do not need training courses anymore. This is exactly where human resource managers should work closely with L&D nurses to motivate them to carry on their professional development and to participate in training courses.
At the same time, along with training, job competences for labor and delivery nurses are extremely important for effective performance of L&D nurses and the high quality of nursing care services they deliver to patients. Job competences required for L&D nurses normally coincide with job competences required for other nurses. Nevertheless, human resource managers should pay a particular attention to the development of basic job competences in L&D nurses. In this regard, L&D nurses should have well-developed professional skills above all. This means that they should be professionals, who have extensive knowledge and experience and who are capable to implement their knowledge in practice in their regular work in the real health care setting.
Along with specific professional skills and knowledge, L&D nurses should develop other competences, which are crucial for their regular work. In this regard, specialists (Miller, et al., 2003) point out that L&D nurses should be able to make quick decisions at critical times. To put it more precisely, they should be able to respond fast and properly to any challenge they face in their work. In fact, this is one of the fundamental requirements L&D nurses should meet because the fast decision is a key toward the delivery of nursing care services of the high quality. The delivery of nursing care in time may be crucial for the life and health of patients of L&D nurses. Therefore, they should pay a lot of attention to the decision making process because often L&D nurses have to take decisions on their own and they do not have time to ask for assistance of other health care professionals. In such a situation, the promptness of L&D nurses’ decision making may be crucial for the health and life of women and newborns.
At the same time, L&D nurses should have good physical stamina and general good health. The work of L&D nurses needs significant physical forces and physical stamina and general good health are essential for them. Otherwise, L&D nurses could not afford physical pressure they are vulnerable to in the course of their work. At this point, specialists (Limentani, 1999) place emphasis on the fact that L&D nurses should always stay focused and concentrated on their work, whatever the time they have been already working. Even if they grow tired, they still have to stay focused on their work because there is no margin for error and L&D nurses are responsible for outcomes of their work. The attention and concentration on the proper performance of L&D nurses comprise an integral part of their training and human resource managers should develop stamina of L&D nurses through stressing the importance of their own health for the provision of health care services to patients.
Furthermore, L&D nurses may face a number of serious problems in the course of their work. This is why many specialists (Ryan and Ray, 2004) insist on the development of problem solving techniques in L&D nurses. It proves beyond a doubt that the development of problem solving techniques is very important because, if L&D nurses face a problem and are panic-stricken, they cannot work effectively and they cannot deliver essential nurse care services to patients. In stark contrast, L&D nurses, who are experienced in problem solving, stay cool even in the most difficult situation. Instead of falling in panic, they start applying a problem solving technique they believe to be the most efficient in the specific situation. On the ground of problem solving techniques, L&D nurses can use their professional knowledge, skills and abilities to work effectively in the most extreme environment.
At the same time, specialists (Limentani, 1999) argue that L&D nurses should come prepared to face conflicts in the course of their work with both colleagues and patients. In this regard, human resource managers should stimulate the development of conflict management to help L&D nurses to prevent the emergence of conflicts and minimize their negative impact on patients and health care professionals, in case conflicts have emerged. In the contemporary health care environment, the conflict management is one of the most important competences of L&D nurses because conflicts affect not only psychological state of patients as well as nurses but also their physical state. In case of L&D nurses and their patients, any significant deterioration of psychological state or physical health may be dangerous for patients.
In addition, many specialists (Miller, et al., 2003) recommend developing counseling strategies in L&D nurses. Counseling is very effective, when L&D nurses deal with patients, who have significant problems with their health. Counseling helps patient to recover in post-operation period as well as in situations, when they have some difficulties and need the assistance of L&D nurses.
At the same time, specialists (Ryan and Ray, 2004) point out that economic implications of L&D nurses’ work are also very important in the contemporary health care environment. In fact, the median annual wage of L&D nurses meets the average wage level of nurses in the US (Limentani, 1999). The following table shows the wage of L&D nurses depending on their certification:
Skill: Labor & Delivery, Birthing
Median Hourly Rate by Job
National Hourly Rate Data (?)
Registered Nurse (RN)
Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA)
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
Registered Nurse (RN), Emergency Room
Charge Nurse (RN)
Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)
Registered Nurse (RN), Operating Room
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 17 Feb 2011 | Individuals Reporting: 6,542
Source: Skill & Labor: Delivery, Birthing/Hourly Rate. (2011). http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Skill=Labor_%26_Delivery,_Birthing/Hourly_Rate
In such a way, L&D nurses basically meet average standards in the industry. Therefore, human resource managers can hardly count for the high level of motivation of L&D nurses, if they use material motivators solely. Bonuses and increase of wages may be effective but they will not bring positive effects always. In a long-run perspective, other motivators are needed to stimulate L&D nurses to work better.
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In such a context, specialists (Miller, et al., 2003) suggest different strategies and solutions human resource managers can use to increase the effectiveness of work with L&D nurses, minimize the risk of conflicts and stimulate the professional development of L&D nurses. First, L&D nurses need to stay motivated, regardless of their experience, skills and abilities they have developed in the course of their professional career. Second, L&D nurses should be confident of their responsibility for outcomes of their work. Human resource managers should inform L&D nurses about consequences of professional negligence from the part of L&D nurses and their legal liability. At the same time, human resource managers should motivate L&D nurses to improve their professional skills and knowledge through participation in training programs. For instance, human resource managers can promote L&D nurses, who are particularly successful in training or who are eager to participate in training programs. In addition, human resource managers can use the knowledge sharing management strategy, which helps to share knowledge within a health care organization using the experience and knowledge of health care professionals working in the organization. For instance, more experienced L&D nurses can share their knowledge with newcomers, whereas physicians can share their knowledge with experienced L&D nurses. In such a way, health care professionals working within the health care organization will share knowledge and develop new skills and abilities. In addition, human resource managers should help L&D nurses to improve communication with patients and to use effective strategies and techniques of problem solving, conflict management and counseling.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that L&D nurses are responsible for their work and they should provide nursing care services of the high quality because health and life of patients are in their hands. In this regard, the effective human resource management can be an effective tool to improve the quality of nursing care services being delivered by L&D nurses to patients.
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