L&D Travel Nurse Enjoys Unique, Fulfilling Assignments


By Megan M. Krischke, contributor

Marie Bombardier, RN, BSN, had a unique opportunity to go directly from nursing school into labor and delivery nursing through a government-sponsored mentorship program. After falling in love with labor and delivery (L&D or LD) nursing during a placement in nursing school, she jumped at a chance to learn the specialty in a rural hospital in Ontario, Canada. When her six-month mentorship was over, she was kept on as a contingency nurse, but wasn’t getting the hours she needed.

At that point she sat for her NCLEX exams, moved home to Windsor, Ontario, and began commuting to her labor and delivery job in Detroit.

“I am so thankful for the experience I had in Detroit before I became a traveler. We handled a lot of high-risk births so I saw a lot of different things and had a lot of experience. I even delivered two babies without the physician,” Bombardier remarked. “When you are a traveler, you only get a day or two of orientation so it is important to already feel confident in your nursing skills.”

Bombardier started traveling with NursesRx, and AMN Healthcare company, in June 2013 in order to live closer to her Chicago-based boyfriend.

“Traveling is such a great opportunity for young people, I wish I’d done it a couple of years ago and gone to a bunch of different places,” she effused. “I like the flexibility of being a traveler and getting to know different people. Since you only work in a place for three months, if you don’t love it you can go to another place next.”

“Travel nursing is such a great way for people to travel and get to know places,” she continued. “If there is a city you are curious about living in, you can go and try it.  If you have the travel bug, you can go all over.”

Bombardier is on her second assignment and plans to complete at least two more in order to learn about the cultures and values of different hospitals in Chicago before she starts applying for a permanent job in the area.

One perk that she is looking forward to is the ability to take up to four weeks off between travel nurse assignments without losing health benefits. Since her current assignment ends in the middle of December, she will take time off over the holidays.

She is also confident that there will be a job waiting for her in January, because labor and delivery travel nurses are in extraordinarily high demand.

“Right now I have 194 facilities in 40 states that are looking for one or more labor and delivery nurses,” explained Stacy Johnson, a recruiter for NursesRX. “Labor and delivery nurses can always find work and can have their choice of facilities, whether they want to work in a small, 25-bed rural hospital or a 1,000-bed teaching hospital or anything in between. We have Magnet hospitals and we have Level-1 trauma hospitals--whatever they are looking for.”

And the type of hospital where a labor and delivery nurse traveler chooses to work can determine what type of experiences he or she will encounter on the job.

“I like working in a teaching hospital because you have the staff available to you. When I work with residents, I learn something new every day, especially during the shift changes because they talk through the details of every patient,” explained Bombardier. “At a community hospital, the physicians are usually only on the floor during the delivery and if there are any complications, so the nursing is much more independent and hands on.  You also have more interaction with the patients when you aren’t working with residents.”

“In the rural hospital where I worked, the nurses often ended up delivering babies, and because we didn’t take high-risk pregnancies, I got to ride along on a few ambulance transfers,” she added.

“Every place I’ve worked I’ve learned something new, and it is cool to see how different people do things,” Bombardier continued. “Every doctor has his or her own tricks of the trade--just by watching them, I’ve learned exactly what to do if I came into that situation. And some doctors are such great teachers. A doctor I worked with at St. Alexius Medical Center here in the Chicago suburbs would allow the nurses to participate in deliveries.”

Bombardier encourages labor and delivery nurses who are considering traveling to be sure that they are comfortable in their nursing skills, to be open minded and quick to learn. She also recommends that nurses take a vaginal exam class so they can check their patients’ labor progress, learn to place scalp electrodes for monitoring the baby’s heartbeat and to become proficient at IV starts.

Bombardier has a strong commitment to achieving the patient’s birth plans and she wants all of her patients to have a positive birth experience.

“The most fulfilling part of my job is making a difference to my patients. You can tell if you made a difference in someone’s life because of a smile on their face or a simple thank you--it means a lot,” she said. makes it easy to keep up on jobs in labor and delivery nursing and other nursing specialties. Just sign up to receive our free email alerts!

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