Each Job, Every Day: Labor & Delivery Nurse

What’s it like to help bring a new life into the world? Ask Katrina Peschl. She’s been doing it since she was a child. Raised on a dairy farm, Katrina often helped the cows birth their calves.

Now a labor-and-delivery (L&D) nurse at Fairview Northland Medical Center, she continues to follow her passion of helping patients during a very intense, life-changing period.  For Fairview Ridges Hospital L&D nurse Sara Eggerud, that’s a typical Tuesday night. “I love the human body, medicine and learning about new things,” says Sara. “I love personal relationships and caring for others.”  Because babies don’t wait to be born between the hours of 8 and 5, our hospitals have an average of seven nurses scheduled in Labor and Delivery at all times.

What they do

“My duties are very broad and include admitting patients, performing assessments on mother and baby, providing support and guidance during labor with coping and pain control, ensuring good communication between myself and the patient’s doctor and getting the doctor at the bedside in time to deliver the baby,” says Sara.
L&D nurses help assess baby transitioning and provide support when needed. They start IVs, give medications, perform exams and place internal monitors.  “The main goal of my role is to emotionally and physically support the laboring mother and the entire family,” says Fairview Ridges Hospital L&D nurse Carley Smythe.  They communicate, educate and prepare the patient for future care and expectations.  “I truly believe that I fulfill Fairview’s mission—I love my job, and I feel I facilitate healing and care to my patients and families, as well as education for developing families so they are able to live healthier lives,” says Carley.

Extensive Training

Labor-and-delivery nursing has an intense training period of six weeks, sometimes more if needed. There are special classes they have to take to train for certain skills.

“The advanced training we need to work in our role is Neonatal Resuscitation (NRP), Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Fetal Monitoring (AFM) and an extensive orientation on our department floor so we can get exposure to a variety of patients quickly,” says Katrina.
Through care continuum integration, Fairview delivers excellent care at all stages of life—even before our smallest patients are born.

Why they do it

L&D nurses take part in people’s lives during the most intense times. They see an array of emotions including the smiles, the tears, “aha” moments and more. And though being an L&D nurse can be rewarding, it isn’t always a walk in the park.Sara has encountered declining patients and newborn loss.“I always want what’s best for the patient, and it’s hard that I can’t control what happens all the time,” says Sara.


“Providing my patient with a good experience is my first priority, and I want them to feel safe and prepare them for when they leave The Birthplace.”

Patients and families are at the center of every decision our L&D nurses make.

“The thing I love most about my job is that there is never a typical workday,” says Carley. “Each day is special and different in its own way but the goal is always the same: to work as a team and bring life into this world. It’s amazing.”

“I was drawn to nursing when I would hear my Aunt Carol (also a nurse on The Birthplace) talk about work,” says Katrina.

“I love the patient care aspect of nursing, and I feel so privileged to be able to take care of an entire family and see new life born every day I go to work,” says Carley. “It is truly my dream job. I am so lucky to be able to care for the amazing families every day.

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