Maternal-Child Nursing is a field that focuses on providing healthcare to childbearing women and their children. The education, job requirements and average salaries earned by maternal-child nurses are described in detail below.
Nurses who enjoy working with children and new mothers may find a career in maternal-child nursing particularly rewarding. A maternal-child nurse cares for mothers, newborn infants and older children. Thus, maternal-child nurses must be skilled in prenatal care, labor and delivery, postnatal care and pediatrics. A maternal-child nurse typically cares for a pregnant patient throughout her hospital stay, from admission to discharge. For this reason, becoming a maternal-child nurse requires a great deal of specialized knowledge.
Maternal-child nurses must work well with children and be compassionate toward pregnant women and new mothers. Since maternal-child nurses are often involved in labor and delivery, they must also work well under pressure, and they must be willing to work any shift.
Work Environment and Job Duties
Maternal-child nurses can work in any location that includes a labor and delivery department, such as a hospital or a specialized clinic with a birthing facility. Because labor can occur at any time of the day or night, maternal-child nurses often work rotating shifts. If you plan on becoming a maternal-child nurse, you must be willing to work nights and weekends. In addition, you may be required to work long shifts.
On the job, maternal-child nurses may:
•Work with laboring mothers
•Assist in delivery
•Care for mothers and newborns after delivery
•Monitor mothers and newborns for complications after delivery
•Work with patients experiencing high-risk pregnancies
•Monitor critically ill infants
•Provide support to patients’ families before, during and after a delivery
•Check on new mothers and their babies following discharge
Requirements and Education
If you wish to work as a maternal-child nurse, you must first earn a degree in nursing, such as a bachelor of science or associate’s degree, and you must pass the certification examination to become a registered nurse. At the time of publication, there are no specialized programs that lead to a degree in maternal-child nursing. However, you can prepare for a career in this specialty through continuing education courses that focus on obstetrics, pediatrics, neonatal nursing and other related subjects. Since maternal-child nursing is a family-centered profession, midwifery training may also be helpful.
Salary and Career Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that individuals working as registered nurses received an average salary of $64,690 during 2010. However, because a maternal-child nurse has more training and specialized skills than most registered nurses, they may earn a slightly higher salary. The exact salary you can expect to earn in this position depends on your skill level, credentials and location.
According to the BLS, openings in registered nursing are expected to increase by 26 percent over the next decade. It is likely that openings in maternal-child nursing will increase at a similar rate.