It’s a miracle when a baby leaves mother’s womb and sees the outside world for the first time. In the past, such things simply happened, just like they still do in an animal kingdom. But that was back in the day when our population was healthy, when people weren’t obese, and when women had children in their teenage years or in their early twenties. Everything is different in the 21st century, and a baby almost cannot be born without a skilled nurse supporting the delivery.
This is not an easy job, because births do not follow a schedule. Though beautiful and empowering experience, the triage can also be a painful and nerve-racking time for a mother, especially when complications occur… Let’s have a look at some questions you may face while interviewing for this position.
Why did you decide for a career of a labor and delivery nurse?
You can say that from all nursing positions, this one was closest to your heart. You know how stressful it can be to deliver a baby, and how much an empathic nurse can help a new mother. Since you always felt a calling to help people, and feel like accompanying women on this amazing journey, your choice was pretty clear.
You can also refer to your skills and abilities, or education and certifications. Suggest that you excel in communication skills and in handling stressful situations. You are physically fit, and your hands-on experience (during your internship or practicum) convinced you that this is the right field for you, something you’d like to do for many years to come.
How do you see your role within the labor & delivery team?
The most important thing is to demonstrate your sense for teamwork. The quality of patient care depends on how well you cooperate with other members of the team, and whether you center your attention on the care you provide, or on some stupid internal conflicts.
You can also list some duties you imagine responding for, for example:
- Assessing patients in triage for preterm labor, active labor, rupture of waters, and pregnancy complications.
- Performing maternal physical assessments.
- Managing patients in labor, including induction assistance, epidural assistance, pain management, and delivery support.
- Assisting in operating room for cesarean sections or any other complications and procedures.
- Educating patients on medications, labor, pushing, delivering, and postpartum care.
Ensure them that you feel ready to take care of variety of duties and will always try your best for the mother and the newborn.
A mother refuses to change her birth plan, even though it is not the best choice for her medically. How would you deal with that?
This is a question of attitude, and of getting over your emotions. At the end of the day, the mother has a final call. Ensure the interviewers that you would explain everything to her, including the medical issues she could face. You would make sure that she understood you properly, and could make a qualified decision about her birth.
Then you would assist her, trying your best, just like you’d do if she followed your original suggestion. That’s the right attitude to show at this point. You can also say that you understand it may be tough emotionally, because at the end of the day you are (or want to be) a mother as well, and want the best for your patients. But you will get over it, once you know that you clearly explained the things to her, and she made a qualified decision.
How would you handle high-risk situations during birth, for example postpartum hemorrhage (or other situation)?
This is your opportunity to demonstrate your clinical experience. Try to avoid any fancy talks at this point. Simply describe, step by step, what you would do. Show them that you have a system in your work, and are ready for any tricky situation that may occur.
What’s more, you can also explain that you already assisted with such a problem in an operating room, or at least witnessed your more experienced colleagues doing the job. Ensure the interviewers that with everything you’ve done in your internship (practicum), you feel ready to handle any high-risk situations during birth.
How do you feel about cooperating with doulas?
Doula plays an integral part in many births, and for most women she’ll be the one important person in the room, one they trust the most. It is important to show your respect for the profession, and your willingness to cooperate with doulas.
You can even describe the different roles the two of you have on the big day. While you take care of clinical tasks, ensuring that all procedures follow the protocol, and both the mother and child is safe, doula provides emotional, physical and educational support, ensuring that the birth will be a memorable and empowering experience for the new mother.
How do you feel about working with patients that are not pregnant?
In many hospitals you won’t work in a maternity specific unit. In these cases, you may work with all sorts of patients while on the shift, especially when nobody is giving birth to a child during your shift.
Ensure the hiring managers that you are committed to your nursing mission. And while you prefer helping with labor and delivery, you do not mind helping any other patient in hospital. After all, they also were a newborn one day….
Sometimes it happens that a child or a mother dies while giving birth. How do you plan to get over such a situation?
It’s not easy getting over these situations emotionally, especially when you are directly involved in that birth. But you should ensure the hiring managers that you are aware of the statistics, and know it can happen.
Sure, it won’t be easy to get over it, but as long as you know that you tried your best–what you plan to do each day in your work, you will eventually get in terms with the situation. You do not have many other options anyway. Just like birth belongs to life so does death, and the only thing we can do is accepting it.
It may take you some time, and you may need a support from your colleagues, but you feel ready to get over it emotionally…
Other questions you may face in your labor and delivery job interview
- What do you consider the toughest aspect of this job?
- How would you try to turn a negative birth experience to a positive one for a new mother?
- Imagine that a mother is super stressed about her birth. What will you say to her while trying to calm her down?
- What process do you use to develop a postpartum care plan for a new mother?
- Describe the most memorable experience from your internship or practicum.
- After everything we discussed here, do you have any questions, or do you want to add something?
Conclusion, next steps
Interview for a job of a labor and delivery nurse belongs to easy job interviews. This is a specialty job title, and the sector is currently understaffed. As long as you have completed your education, and don’t remain silent when they ask you their questions, you will make it and sign an employment agreement (at least in 90% of cases).
Try to prepare a short answer to each question from this article, and do not forget to learn something about your future place of work. It will help you to connect with your interviewers and also to answer some questions that refer to their place. I hope you will succeed and wish you good luck!
May also interest you:
- Nurse practitioner interview questions – Some of them may overlap with labor and delivery interviews. Check them out to avoid negative surprises.
- How to dress for an interview – Not sure what clothes to wear on the big day? We have the answers.
- How to overcome interview nerves – Feeling beyond nervous before the start of your interview? Check out our 4 strategies on how to overcome your anxiety.