10 Everyday Worries All Labor and Delivery Nurses Understand

Nurses worry about a lot of different things throughout the day (and even before their shift)! It’s no wonder most of us suffer from high blood pressure…

  1. Getting an unsatisfied patient.
    It’s easy for patients to be unhappy with something when they’re in labor. After all, in labor and delivery, pain is an expectation. When you think about it, we are usually trying to make them hurt, because pain means they’re dilating and closer to having their baby. Of course, we try to manage that pain, but sometimes it doesn’t matter how dense their epidural is, or how many different ways we coach them to breathe, they may hurt and they may not be happy about it.We also do not have the ability to write orders for pain medication. We are only capable of giving IV pain meds every x amount of hours. We don’t place or manage epidurals. So sometimes we worry that no amount of smiling and repositioning and coaching will satisfy our patients or help ease their pain. But we keep trying.
  2. Low Apgars.
    This especially sucks when you’ve had a decent strip all damn day. We beat ourselves up about everything, and often we forget that hindsight is 20/20. If we’re too conservative, our patient could end up with a cesarean delivery for no good reason. If we’re too liberal, our patient could end up with a baby that needs a little resuscitation at birth. It’s hard not to blame ourselves when a baby is delivered and ends up with low Apgars, making us question every 15-minute interval of FHTs.
  3. Being floated to another specialty.
    No one goes to work wanting to be floated to another unit. We don’t have control over any other aspect of our day. We don’t know what our providers will be like, or how nice our patients will be, or how sick or complicated our patients are. But we always know what to expect from our coworkers, and that’s somehow comforting when you know you’ll deal with whatever walks through the door together.
  4. An IUFD. No one wants to take care of someone who will have a stillbirth. It’s sad and our heart breaks for these families. If we are chosen to labor these women, we will consider it our privilege, but it guarantees we’ll have a patient that we won’t stop thinking about once we’re home.
  5. Forgetting to chart something important.
    We all have a fear that we might forget to chart something important, and it’s like embedded in our minds that THIS event in THIS delivery might come back to haunt us. And we all (seem) to believe there’s no expiration date for events that occurred in THAT delivery.
  6. A provider who woke up on the wrong side of the bed.
    Usually providers are great to work with, but when they’re not, they can make your life miserable. You have to learn to adjust to whatever mood they’re in, which can be exhausting.
  7. A preeclamptic patient.
    Trying to manage uncontrolled blood pressures is like walking around all day long, on your toes, surrounded by grenades. Our biggest fear is that the patient will seize or stroke, and then we will spend our time simultaneously fighting for baby and fighting for mom.
  8. A postpartum hemorrhage.
    Nothing will make your adrenaline pump like a postpartum hemorrhage. As with seizures, there’s just so much activity that happens in such a short amount of time.
  9. Patients with no prenatal care.
    Getting a patient with no prenatal care is like doing a delivery in the dark. It’s almost like having only 3 pieces of a really big puzzle. You know you’re taking care of a woman, you know they’re pregnant, and you know what they’re dilated to. You have to take their word for everything else. You hope they’re a good historian, and that you have enough time to do a CBC before they delivery.
  10. A provider who is watching the clock.
    This means one thing: they want their patient delivered. It’s difficult when we feel like we’re racing against time to get our patient delivered, and this can be an added stressor to an already super stressful situation. Luckily, we manage to all work together to get the patient delivered as safely as possible.



Until my next delivery ❤

One thought on “10 Everyday Worries All Labor and Delivery Nurses Understand

  • November 30, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    Shoulder dystocia is my least favorite thing….


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