labor nurse has been reborn and shares her experiences as a new nurse-midwife, woman, and blogger

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Postpartum Sucks

Well, people, I have said this before but I will say it again. I hate working postpartum. This is the official complaint.

My "summer break" (if you want to call it that) is being spent on 12 hour shifts at work so that I can try to fill the hole of a bank account before heading back to clinical. And each and every time I go to work I end up on postpartum! My most recent response when I saw that I was assigned to the postpartum floor was, "Oh, that's just great!" This was met with a bit of silence, followed by, "Ya, we know, we know..." but being per diem makes you the low nurse on the totem pole, even if you have more experience and even attend births as the official catcher of babies.

I've wanted to say, "You know, I am much better suited to the labor floor, people... I'm going to be a midwife, for crying out loud!" But I think that might come off not so nicely. Besides, I have pissed off a few people because I am unable to work any of the summer holidays and the powers that be have allowed me to not have to work a holiday. To be fair, because I knew that this was going to ruffle some feathers if word got out, I offered to work some particular night shifts. And anyone who knows me knows how I loathe night shifts. (And I said I was going to be a midwife?) But, get this....I was told I was not needed on those night shifts. I almost fell over because they are always short on nights. So... whatever.


AtYourCervix said...

I feel your pain. Postpartum sucks your brain cells dry.

cileag said...

But think of it as also training for midwifery. I truly think that the postpartum experience is more important than the labor and birth portion. It's the 48-96 hours after the birth where we set up this new family unit for success at home. That's where we can help them bond, demonstrate good latching, assist with comforting measures for stitches or hemorrhoids. And as a midwife, you'll be following up with that stuff too.

Melissa said...

Out of curiosity, what's so terrible about postpartum? Is it that it's boring? I hardly needed anything from my nurses after both kids so I would have thought it was a cushy gig.

Labor Nurse said...

Melissa, I don't like postpartum for several reasons. First is that where I currently work, the unit is not properly staffed to give good care. I feel like my patients are getting totally gypped (?) of good care. Assignments never reflect the acuity or needs of mothers and babies. For instance, having 5 mother-baby couplets where one set is actually twins that are late preterm with multiple needs, another mother who needs extensive breastfeeding support, a fresh post-op c-section, and then some poor multip who just had her 4th baby that gets totally ignored because of the needs of everyone else.

My first obstetrics nursing experience was in postpartum and I loved it then. Assignments were fair and I actually got to sit with my patients and really teach them, or help them in some way.

amanda said...

I just wanted to ask a question if you don't mind.

Are there plenty of jobs in L&D nursing available? I am in nursing school and I think I would like to do L&D (haven't done that clinical yet), but I'm worried that maybe I'll get stuck doing something else for few years first. I really don't want to end up in ER.

Jack and Lexi's Mom said...

We always need good help in my hospital. I never did anything other than intra-partum nursing.

lostjunkie said...

As a postpartum (and soon-to-be L&D!) nurse, I couldn't agree more.

Our staffing ratios are ludicrous and acuity of patients is never taken into account.

Generally, our patients are pretty plain jane vanilla, but I'd say the majority expect that they have 1-to-1 care and will be pampered like a princess. I have NO problem doing that - unless I have 7 or 8 other patients who actually do have major issues going on. It's frustrating that our administration treats the nurses, and in turn the patients in such a way.

I'd originally dreamt of being a midwife so I'm excited about getting back into the L&D side of things.