Physicians often rely on nurses to communicate or collect medical information from their patients. The role nurses play in the delivery room requires them to be patient, observant, and make quick medical decisions. This is critically important in the case of an emergency if the mother or infant is in trouble and needs immediate care.
Unlike your physician, a nurse will be by your side throughout the entire delivery process. If a delivery nurse fails to provide you with the appropriate attentive care, they may be liable for medical malpractice and face losing their nursing license.
General Responsibilities of Delivery Room Nurses
Prenatal care differs from hospital to hospital. Some hospitals may offer individual nursing care, meaning you are the nurse’s only patient. Other hospitals will have one nurse looking after multiple patients simultaneously. Regardless of whether you have one assigned nurse or share one with other patients, you are still owed a certain standard of care. Typically, a delivery nurse’s responsibilities include:
- Monitoring the mother during labor and birth
- Tracking a mother’s progress through the stages of labor
- Identifying potential complications for the mother or infant
- Administering medications
- Monitoring the infant after birth
- Teach new parents about proper baby care
- Communicate medical information to and from the mother, physician, and family
Delivery nurses are responsible for noticing potential birthing problems and reporting them to your physician to prevent birthing injuries.
The Different Roles in a Delivery Room
Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) will have a different role in the delivery room. APRNs are nurses with either a master’s degree or Ph.D. in nursing with a focus on one of four specialties. Unlike RNs, APRNs have more responsibility in a delivery room and have the authority to:
- Give pain medications and epidurals
- Diagnose and treat birthing and postpartum complications
Your physician/obstetrician will perform the birth. Your physician is responsible for your and your infant’s medical health. A physician’s responsibilities include:
- Evaluate, diagnose, manage, and treat infants and mothers
- Order and evaluate diagnostic tests
- Prescribe medications
There may also be physician assistants, midwives, neonatologists, or anesthesiologists in the delivery room based on the hospital and potential birthing complications.
Circumstances Where a Delivery Nurse’s License May be Revoked
A delivery nurse’s license may be revoked due to malpractice. This could include negligence. If a nurse’s negligent or reckless action or inaction caused you or your baby harm, the nurse and the hospital could be held liable. Delivery nurse malpractice may include the following:
- Negligence of nursing practices
- Physical or mental incompetence
- Failure to act consistently with accepted professional standards of practice for registered nurses
- Filing a false report, failing to file a report, or obstructing the filing of a report
- Providing professional services while under the influence
- Delegating nursing tasks to an employee who is not qualified or capable
- Failing to supervise an employee the nurse delegated responsibilities to
You should feel safe, heard, and taken care of during the delivery process. If you believe your baby’s birthing injuries were caused due to lack of care, you could be entitled to compensation for medical malpractice.
Education of Delivery Room Nurses
A hospital’s responsibility is to ensure all its nurses have the proper credentials. Most nurses are RNs or registered nurses who have a nursing license issued by the state. Requirements to receive a nursing license include:
- An associate or bachelor’s in nursing
- Passing the NCLEX-RN exam administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN).
Some nurses are BSNs. This means the nurse has a Bachelor of Science and has more years of nursing education.
Some delivery nurses will have other certifications in a specialty, such as:
- Low-risk neonatal nurse
- Maternal newborn nurse
- Neonatal intensive care nurse
- Inpatient obstetric nurse
To earn one of these certifications, a nurse must work as an RN for two years with at least 2,000 hours of practice and take a National Certification Corporation (NCC) exam.
Graduate Nursing Requirements
Hospitals may employ nursing graduates who have yet to pass the CLEX-RN exam but have completed their nursing program. According to the Maryland Board of Nursing, a nursing graduate can only work for ninety days without passing the CLEX-RN.
Hiring Brown & Barron for Birth Asphyxia Cases
Nurses are an integral part of the birthing process. When a nurse is negligent and does not uphold their duty of care in a delivery room, there can be negative consequences for both you and your child. If you believe that your child suffered a birth injury due to malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.
The lawyers at Brown & Barron can help you stand up for your child’s rights to proper medical care. Our firm can help you hold any nurse, physician, or hospital legally accountable for their negligence that caused your baby harm. Call now and get a free and confidential consultation to find out if you have a case.