Maternity Nursing and The Role Of The Maternity Nurse
If you like working with infants and enjoy helping mothers, you should consider entering the field of maternity nursing. Maternity nursing can be a rewarding career choice. It is an area where an intensive working relationship develops between the maternity nurse and her wards: the mother and newborn child. It is also a demanding career. In maternity nursing, you must be prepared to be on call 24 hours a day for 7 days of the week.
What is Maternity Nursing?
Maternity nursing is a form of intensive, informative and knowledgeable care provided by a maternity nurse. In most instances, the maternity nurse provides 2 related and integrated services. The first one is pre-birth care. The maternity nurse is there to help the mother and the family during their pregnancy and afterwards. In maternity nursing, the provider prepares the family for the entire birthing experience. The second responsibility of the maternity nurse is post birth. The nurse is also there after the birth. In this role, he or she advises mothers on such things as post natal care of themselves and their newborns.
What do You do in Maternity Nursing?
Overall, maternity nursing focuses on the well-being of mother and child. The focus of a maternity nurse is on the emotional and physical well-being of both their patients. They provide advice and health care. They are there for emotional support as well as providing physical care for both mother and infant.
In maternity nursing, you learn how to:
- Help mothers feel comfortable handling their infant.
- Show first time mothers how to wash the baby.
- Show mothers how easy it is to feed, change and dress the newborn
- Organize the clothing, toys and other accoutrements of the baby
- Prepare necessary meals
- Pass on knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses and pros and cons of baby care issues, e.g., Cloth diapers versus pampers, bottle feeding versus breast feeding.
- Wash and sterilize bottles
Maternity nursing does focus on the primary unit of mother and child. Yet, the maternity nurse must also know how to interact with the other members of the family. In modern times, it is not only the mother who feeds, dresses and bathes the child. The father is increasingly playing a more significant role. In maternity nursing, this involves educating the father as well in the different aspects of child care.
It is not difficult to enter the field of maternity nursing. In fact, there are several ways you can become a maternity nurse. It depends upon the system operating in your country, province or state. You need to check out the regulations and licenses you may require before operating in this field. That said, the educational qualifications can be any or all of the following:
- Registered Nursing degree - approximately 4 years
- Associate Degree in Nursing - 2 to 3 years in college
- Diploma in nursing - 3 years in a nursing training program
- Diploma or other in midwifery
- Other diploma or degree in related nursing fields.
In the United Kingdom, you can become qualified in maternity nursing if you are a
- Registered general nurse (RGN)
- Registered Sick Children’s Nurse (RSCN)
- Registered Midwife (RM)
- Registered Health Visitor (RHV)
- Cache Diploma in Nursery Nursing
- BTEC and NVQ in Childcare
- Maternity Practitioner Award (MNT)
The path to maternity nursing, therefore, is a varied one. In fact, you may not have a specific educational degree or diploma in nursing to become hired by an agency. You can take an alternative path.
UK Maternity Nurse
Alternative Paths to Maternity Nursing
In the past, there has been more than one route to becoming involved in maternity nursing. One of the most common is experience as a Nanny. You could become a maternity nurse if you had been a Nanny for a minimum of 3 years. Agencies, in fact, preferred candidates for maternity nursing roles to have between 5 and 9 years experience as a Nanny.
Other Qualifications to Enter Maternity Nursing
If you want to become a proud member of the field of maternity nursing, you need to examine your own personal attributes. Maternity nurses are individuals who must work on their own. They are agents hired by clients through an agency. They must perform to the best of their ability a number of varied mother-infant-family functions. In order to successfully and satisfactorily carry these out, he or she must be possessed of several innate and learned characteristics.
At the top of the list are communication skills. In maternity nursing, it is just as if not more important to listen as to speak. It is easy to offer advice, but you must also be really listening to what your client is telling you. You need to be able to communicate clearly to the family and the mother. You must also be able to hear what they are saying. This includes the as yet inarticulate messages given by the infant. In maternity nursing, you must also be able to quickly grasp what is really being said and distinguish it from what you think is being said.
In maternity nursing, you have to be oriented toward the needs of the female of the species. You have to be encouraging. You must be aware of her needs. You must also be committed to fulfilling their needs and meeting the high expectations of child and mother care.
If you enter the field of maternity nursing, be sure you have or develop a self-assuredness. You must be confident in what you are doing. You must be able to radiate this aura to your patients. They must look at you as the expert. You must assert this aspect of your personality. Never abuse it, but make it clear that you are here to perform your job.
Maternity nursing is a profession. You need to act as a professional at all times on the job. Do not forget your training. Do not forget your purpose. Never let yourself feel you are not a professional. Do not let your clients or an agency treat you in any other fashion.
In the field of Maternity nursing, you work for an agency. They hire you. They then sell your services to a family. Be careful when selecting your agency. You deserve respect for your profession. You also require adequate remuneration for the long hours you put it on the job. If you choose wisely, you will be highly paid for a job requiring high levels of commitment and even higher standards.
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