Perinatal Nurse

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Basic description

A perinatal nurse cares for women, infants, and their families from the onset of pregnancy through the first month of the newborn’s life (perinatal period). The perinatal nurse needs to convey to the provider the patient’s physiological status (vital signs, contractions, physical examination findings) and the well-being of the fetus, as evidenced by fetal heart auscultation or monitoring, in clear language. Perinatal nurses have opportunities to work in hospitals including specialty hospitals, health departments, medical offices, health maintenance organizations, clinics, birthing centers, nurse midwife practices, and home health agencies.

Educational requirements

Registered nurse preparation is required. Certification in perinatal nursing is available.

Core competencies/skills needed

■ Interpersonal skills
■ Commitment
■ Oral and written communication skills
■ Ability to monitor the pregnancy
■ Ability to assess the progression of labor and maintain a sense of calm and comfort during labor
■ Ability to monitor the status of mother and baby
■ Knowledge of family support
■ Skill in fostering the new mother–infant relationship and teaching parenting skills
■ Ability to assess and support the mother in her recovery from childbirth as well as evaluate the newborn’s early adjustment to life

Related Web sites and professional organizations

■ Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (www.awhonn.org/)
■ National Association of Neonatal Nurses (www.nann.org/)

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