How to Become an RN in the OB/GYN Field

Labor and delivery nurses assist with childbirth.

Labor and delivery nurses assist with childbirth.

Registered nurses who specialize in obstetrics and gynecology provide nursing care to women in all stages of life, with a particular emphasis on the reproductive system. The OB/GYN field provides a broad range of practice opportunities for RNs, from pregnancy, labor and delivery to menopause and osteoporosis care. Any RN is qualified to work in the OB/GYN field, but specialty training and certification can enhance your options.

Registered Nurse

Before you can become an RN in the OB/GYN field, you must first become an RN. The quickest way to earn your RN is through an accredited two-year associate's degree program at a community college. You might also opt to earn a bachelor of science in nursing degree through a traditional four-year college or university, or you can complete a three-year diploma program through a qualified program at a teaching hospital. Any of these three educational pathways prepare you to take the National Council Licensure Examination-RN which is required for licenses from state boards of nursing in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Experience

Your RN license qualifies you to work as a registered nurse in a variety of settings, including hospital maternity wards and OB/GYN doctors' offices. If you're satisfied with your nursing career at that level, you don't have to pursue any additional training beyond what is required to maintain your RN license. If you want to dig deeper into the OB/GYN nursing field, you'll need at least a couple of years experience working as a nurse in the specialty. If you want to move into advanced practice nursing in the OB/GYN field, get ready to go back to school. Advanced practice nurses need at least a master's degree.

Certification

Professional credentials demonstrate your competency in a particular field of nursing, and could lead to greater employment opportunities and higher pay. The National Certification Corporation awards credentials for RNs in the OB/GYN field, including the RNC-OB credential for Inpatient Obstetric Nursing, the RNC-MNN credential for Maternal Newborn Nursing and the WHNP-BC credential for Women's Health Care Nurse Practitioner. You must have at least 2,000 hours of specialty experience and be employed in the field within the previous two months before you're eligible to sit for the credentialing exam for RN certification. Nurse practitioner eligibility requires at least a master's degree from accredited graduate nurse practitioner program.

Income and Opportunities

Registered nurses in the OB/GYN field tend to earn higher than average wages. The mean annual income for all RNs was $67,930 as of May 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, while ''Scrubs'' reported the average salary for neonatal nurses at $74,000 and Certified Nurse Midwives at $84,000 in 2010. Job opportunities should be plentiful for the foreseeable future. The bureau projects 26 percent growth in new jobs for RNs between 2010 and 2020.

 

About the Author

Mike Parker is a full-time writer, publisher and independent businessman. His background includes a career as an investments broker with such NYSE member firms as Edward Jones & Company, AG Edwards & Sons and Dean Witter. He helped launch DiscoverCard as one of the company's first merchant sales reps.

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