Labor & Delivery Nurse

The joys and pains of labor for a new or experienced mother culminate in the first touch of a newborn baby’s skin, marking one of the most important moments in her life, as well as in the life of the infant and those lucky enough to witness the miracle of birth. Labor and Delivery Nurses are a vital part of childbirth, bringing comfort, experience and knowledge into the delivery room, helping mothers and fathers have the best birth possible, from the onset of labor, any complications that may arise, and through the immediate postpartum period after delivery of a baby.

Labor and Delivery Nurses are required to hold at least a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree as well as pass the NCLEX-RN examination.  Many hospitals and birthing centers are beginning to increase the education and/or training requirements for Labor and Delivery Nurses, looking for those with a Master of Science in Nursing degree, in addition to certifications and specializations that can range from women’s health to midwifery. Specialized certifications and degree concentrations that enhance a Labor and Delivery nurse’s career can be obtained at many colleges, universities and online nursing schools across the country. Alternative paths that can enhance a Labor and Delivery nurse’s skills include certification program as a birth or postpartum doula or as a lactation consultant.

Experience can also translate into a career as a Labor and Delivery nurse, and nurses are encouraged to shadow a mentor as he or she practices within a maternity ward or birthing center.  The skills that are most desired in a Labor and Delivery nurse are attention to detail, the ability to perform well under pressure and make decisions in time of crisis. This experience can be easily gained by assisting in trauma centers, operating rooms or other fast-paced medical environments.

A Labor and Delivery Nurse has the skills and knowledge to assist a woman through childbirth, while still providing information and care to the new mother’s family, including the newborn baby. From assisting the Nurse Midwife or Obstetrician, to coaching a mother through the process of labor, a Labor and Delivery Nurse has one of the most challenging and important roles in the healthcare of women.

Become a Certified Nurse Midwife

To become a Certified Nurse Midwife you must have achieved a Master of Science in Nursing, RN designation and certification by the American Midwifery Certification Board. Start your path to this high paying career that is incredibly rewarding by exploring education options below. We recommend getting information from several so you can compare the programs, costs, time commitments and financial aid options.

Online Schools:

Kaplan University Online

Kaplan University Online


RN to MS in Nursing

Advance your career with an online degree from Kaplan University.

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University of Phoenix Nursing

Walden University


M.S. in Nursing (MSN) - RN Track

M.S. in Nursing (MSN) - BSN Track

Earn a respected bachelor's degree, master's degree, or Ph.D. online at Walden University.

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University of Phoenix Nursing

South University


Nursing Specialization in Adult Health Nurse Practitioner (MSN)

Nursing Specialization in Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN)

Designed with the needs of working adult students in mind, South University, Online Programs is built on the same curriculum offered at South University's campus locations. As a student at South University, Online Programs you will receive the same degree, quality instruction, variety of learning options and level of service found at the campus locations.

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University of Phoenix Nursing

American Sentinel University Online


RN to MS Nursing

Earn a self-paced online degree in Nursing or Healthcare.

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Accelerated Nursing Programs and Advanced Practice Nursing

Nursing careers are as diverse and specialized as nurses themselves. Between experience, education and personal interests, a nursing career can begin as a candy striper and move up into an advanced practice that concentrates on women’s health, anesthesiology, psychiatry, general medicine or even education. Advanced practice nurses have titles such as Clinical Nurse Specialist, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Oncology Nurse Practitioner, and more, and are generally recognized by most states and insurance companies. This designation through state regulation boards allows for direct patient care, including diagnosis, treatment and prescribing medications, without the supervision of a physician, in many cases.

With the growing need for more advanced practice nurses, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) have recommended that the requirements to attain an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) designation include the completion of a Doctor of Nursing Philosophy program. This level of education is based upon the former Master of Science in Nursing degrees, but also include a more focused curriculum that is comparable to medical school in many instances.

Colleges, universities and online nursing schools that offer Master of Science in Nursing degree programs are expected to convert the ARPN-focused Master of Science in Nursing degree programs offered to Doctor of Nursing Practice programs within the next four years. As such, the development of accelerated nursing programs, such as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing to Doctor of Nursing Practice (BSN to DNP) or Registered Nurse  to Doctor of Nursing Practice (RN to DNP) “fast-track” degrees, are becoming more common, especially in response to the increased demand for nurses in general.

As the medical world struggles to keep up with the nursing shortage, solutions to quality medical care are finding a strong foundation in the education and training of advanced practice nurses and other medical professionals. Advanced practice nursing encompasses the best of both the practice of nursing with the medical knowledge of a physician. Through accelerated nursing programs and the rising importance of advanced practice degrees like the Doctor of Nursing Practice, those who wish to join the rewarding field of nursing can have an even more significant impact on the health and wellness of others.

Hospice Nursing

Caring for the terminally ill is one of the most heartbreaking, yet rewarding careers in nursing. These medical professionals not only provide the care and assistance to a person facing mortality, but also provide support, comfort and information to family members and loved ones. The hospice nurse is an invaluable member of a medical team dedicated to the final stages of illness or injury that patients inevitably face.

Helping patients come to terms with terminal illness is only one of the functions of a hospice nurse. These palliative care nurses also help patients understand the process of death and dying, diagnose conditions related to medications or side effects of treatments, give insight to loved ones and relay information to physicians. Hospice nurses control pain and monitor a patient’s progression through the end of an illness, giving comfort and ultimately easing fears surrounding death.

A hospice nurse spends much of the day traveling between patients’ residences, allowing medical care to occur in the comfort of their own homes. Specializing in in-home care, a hospice nurse may provide treatment to patients of all ages, as well as those facing the end of a long battle with cancer, AIDS, Alzheimer’s or other terminal conditions. Giving patients the security and dignity of remaining in their own homes is a prized gift to both the patient, as well as to family and friends.

As part of a larger team that is focused on the social and emotional needs surrounding a patient’s terminal illness, hospice nurses may also consult with members of religious organizations and social service agencies. Medical care may encompass a large portion of the job of a hospice nurse, but the desired end is that of a holistic, mind-body experience and the best “quality of life” care for those closest to the patient, as well as the patient him or herself. Hospice nurses can even specialize in various home healthcare situations, such as geriatric care, palliative or pediatric care or many other programs that are available at local colleges, universities or online nursing schools.

While nursing may define moments in a person’s life where illness is conquered and injury healed, the reality of many illnesses calls for a different approach. Granting terminal patients the ability to live out their days in the comfort of their own home can be one of the more rewarding career choices of a nurse today.

Program Spotlight

Earn as much as $74/hour in the Geriatric Nursing field. Kaplan University offers a self-study online geriatric care certification that can be completed in just 12 months

Kaplan University

Accelerated Nursing Program Challenges

Accelerated nursing programs are gaining popularity for those who wish to pursue a career in nursing, but already have a degree or experience in a non-nursing field. These programs offer nursing school students the ability to achieve academic goals within nursing school that build upon any other level of education that has already been attained. With the projected stability of careers in nursing, accelerated nursing programs are offering a second chance at success and fulfillment for those affected by the recession, life changes and/or job dissatisfaction.

RN to BSN programs, RN to MSN programs, second-degree BSN and dual degree nursing school programs offer a wealth of information and experience to nursing school students, presenting a large amount of information through classroom instruction, simulations and clinical hours. These programs are not simple, however, and it takes a special type of student to be able to balance the workload involved in an accelerated nursing program. Many students, and instructors, find it difficult to navigate the interpersonal dynamics involved when returning to an academic environment after participating within the workforce for a number of years. Additionally, the financial support available for these programs is competitive, and sometimes can be difficult to find.  Many accelerated nursing programs encourage students to focus solely on the degree program, leaving little time for work or family obligations.

Since many accelerated nursing program students are accustomed to the security of a paycheck, the ability to reduce or eliminate the time needed to earn a living can be impacted.

These challenges, however, are not insurmountable. Many accelerated nursing programs are changing in order to accommodate the needs of second-career students. From online nursing schools that offer accelerated nursing programs to nursing schools that offer classes on nights and weekends, the ability for students to enroll and successfully complete an accelerated nursing program is rapidly increasing. 

The challenges of accelerated nursing programs are personal to many students, from financial and life obligations to the ability to adapt back into an academic environment. While many times, these hurdles may deter the final decision to enroll in an accelerated nursing program, the best students are those that make the commitment and are unstoppable in their dedication to becoming nurses. Hospitals and medical facilities, in fact, may prefer a nursing school student who has proven, through the completion of an accelerated nursing program, the ability to succeed, despite challenge.

Second Career Possibilities with an Accelerated Nursing Degree

The recent news about the U.S. unemployment rate, while not all together surprising, has been a shocking addition to the already precarious attitude toward the overall economic climate of the nation. With jobless rates growing and the news of layoffs circulating through various media channels, many people are looking at ways to maintain employment or change to more stable careers. Nursing careers are a strong attraction for those seeking security in this insecure time, especially with the recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that forecasts nursing as the top recession-proof career through 2018.

The main element of beginning a nursing career is a quality education. Those in an already established career may not have the education or experience required to jump directly into a nurse position. Accelerated nursing programs are quickly becoming options for professionals that wish to pursue a new career in nursing, and are highly endorsed by the AACN, especially in reference to the rapid inclusion of new nurses into the workforce. These programs help eliminate some of the time involved in pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, a Master of Science in Nursing degree, or even a PhD in Nursing or Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.

A second career as a nurse can be a personally satisfying role that provides unlimited fulfillment. Due, in part, to the large focus on impersonal or computer-related professions over the last few decades, the call to nursing can be a welcome change full of opportunity. In fact, one of the many benefits of an accelerated nursing program is that it builds on a current education and skill set, so many times, even the IT skills gained through an initial degree program, or through work experience, can help speed up the process of obtaining a position in nursing.

The ability to create a new life, and career, may be appealing for those with an eye on the future while trying to navigate the instability of today’s long-term employment situation in the U.S.  Accelerated nursing programs can be a helpful, time- and cost-effective way to begin a rewarding career in nursing, creating professional stability as well as personal  and life-long job satisfaction.

Getting Ahead in Nursing

For a nurse working within a clinic or hospital environment, the ability to advance from RN to Nurse Manager, Educator or even as a specialist in Midwifery or Anesthesiology is only limited by motivation and desire. With the nursing shortage in full swing, hundreds of advanced practice positions are available now, more than ever, waiting for qualified nurses with the right education and experience.

Working within a medical facility can certainly reduce the time available to complete the requirements for an undergraduate or graduate nursing degree. Between working at a hospital, clinic, long-term care facility or other medical facility, the time available for more nursing school may be limited. Due to the flexibility involved with online nursing programs, online nursing schools are quickly becoming a chosen way for nurses to continue to learn while working. Whether a nurse wants to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, obtain a Master of Science in Nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice or PhD in Nursing, the availability and flexibility of online nursing schools are becoming a popular method for increasing education, experience and ultimately achieving advanced nursing positions.

Even if a nurse is not interested in achieving or completing a degree, many nurses are required to gain education and experience through certificates, certifications and CEUs. Online nursing schools offer many different certificate and diploma programs in various nursing disciplines, including informatics, forensics, nutrition or family planning. Medical specialty certificates may be earned in oncology, pediatrics, trauma, or diabetic education. In addition, graduates of a Master’s-level nursing program may further specialize in nurse management, acute care, midwifery or various other advance practice concentrations.

Careers in nursing are both challenging and rewarding, but also offer a wide range of opportunities for those that continue to pursue education opportunities. As the nursing shortage continues to decrease the quality care available to patients, the need for qualified nurses grows, offering diverse career options and professional paths to success.