A labor and delivery nurse helps guide women through the labor process and delivery of their baby. They monitor the progress of labor, assist with medical procedures and tests as needed, and provide support and care to the mother and baby. After delivery, they also provide care to the mother and baby post-birth.
Travel nursing can be an exciting and rewarding career, especially for those who are excited about experiencing new places and meeting new people. There are many benefits to working as a travel labor and delivery nurse, such as an increased income, professional development opportunities, and gaining experience in areas outside of your own geographic region.
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The salary of a registered nurse can vary significantly depending on the experience of the nurse as well as the experience, certifications, and location they are working in. The median salary for a registered nurse was $ 80,010 per year or $36.22 per hour in 2020 with most earning between $61,630 and $93,590 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Entry-level registered nurse jobs or those with the lowest 10% salary earned around $53,410, while the highest 10% earned more than $116,230. Typically, a travel nurse job will provide higher hourly and weekly pay than permanent positions in the same location, and labor and delivery travel nurses are among the specialties with the highest salary.
Labor and Delivery Registered Nurses (L&D RNs) care for women when they are in labor and giving birth. They monitor and assess the mother and baby during this time and coach the women through labor. Labor and Delivery RNs also assist the doctors during delivery. Some Labor and Delivery RNs have a “high-risk” background and care for mothers with complex diseases and high-risk pregnancies, with conditions such as diabetes, preeclampsia (high blood pressure), and multiple gestations (prematurity, low birth rate, infant mortality). The postpartum / mother-baby unit is where the mother recovers from childbirth. She and the baby are usually there for one to two days. The labor and delivery floor also has a nursery where the newborn is supervised while the mother rests. Some L&D RNs can work in all of these areas and are referred to as LDRP RNs (Labor Delivery, Recovery, Postpartum). Others specialize in one or the other or any multiple.
In order to work as a travel labor and delivery nurse, Registered Nurses must complete their associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing and take the National Council Licensure Exam NCLEX -RN Exam, which is a requirement to practice as an RN in the United States. Once the NCLEX exam is passed and you meet the board of nursing license requirements in your state, then all that is left is to do is gain the necessary experience in your specialty and explore additional certifications.
Common certifications that could be required for labor and delivery nurses include Basic Life Support (BLS) and Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) certification. The Association of Women's Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses provides a Fetal Heart Monitoring Program at basic, intermediate, and advanced course levels. These courses teach concepts about fetal heart monitoring for bedside care perinatal providers. Another neonatal education program that may be required by some facilities is the S.T.A.B.L.E program which stands for six assessment and care modules.
While compensation offers can vary greatly depending on the contract or agency offering, pay packages for travel labor and delivery nurses typically have four major components: hourly taxable wages, meals and incidentals, housing, and travel.
Full-time nurses working at healthcare facilities receive a salary, but most travel nurse employers offer hourly wages. Every pay package must include a taxable hourly wage, and the amount can vary depending on the shift, location, and specialty required of the assignment.
Housing payments can be included in a payment from a staffing agency. This is typically offered in two ways. Either the company is providing housing, or the traveler is taking the housing stipend. It is more beneficial for the traveler to take the housing stipend for two primary reasons. First, they will have a choice in where they stay. Everyone’s definitions of comfortable and acceptable are different. The second reason the housing stipend is more beneficial for them is that it can be given as a nontaxable amount.
Also known as per diems, meal and incidental stipends provide a daily budget for daily living expenses. These standards vary depending on the cost of living in cities and states across the country.
Travel is the last portion of the pay package. Many recruiters may not even offer travel and instead put that money into the per diems or housing for their traveler so they are receiving the benefits over the entire contract, not just at the very beginning or end of the contract. While a travel stipend can be used to cover the cost of a flight for the traveler, it is more often than not used to subsidize the traveler’s expenses to and from an assignment. Travel expenses can be offered as a reimbursement rate per mile, though many agencies will opt to offer a flat rate to and from an assignment.
Many travel nurses find work through recruitment agencies and marketplaces, which means you have better access to job boards to choose your schedule, location, and salary. When you begin browsing for jobs, be sure to consider the housing options, the benefits, the guaranteed hours' policy, and the recruiting company’s overall reputation.
The good news is that Fusion Marketplace has everything you need when it comes to finding the perfect traveling nursing jobs. Here, you have the freedom to compare benefits, packages, and staffing agencies—all in one place. So find your next job today.