The OB Nurse

Volunteering in a tertiary government hospital in the OB-GYNE Ward will open one’s eyes to the chaotic but endearing world of a woman’s uterus and all the things connected with it. Oh, and babies, lots of babies. An OB nurse might not sound as hard core as, say, an ER or ICU nurse with their constant stab wounds, GSWs and Code Blues but it takes a special kind of health care practitioner to survive the OB floor. Believe me.

An OB nurse in a government hospital must always be on her toes. From the never-ending stream of mothers and their newborns coming in from the delivery room and operating room, it’s easy to get lost in the chaos. (Really, in relation with the Dengue epidemic reaching record-breaking proportions, you would think pregnancy is communicable too.) She must have the strength and presence of mind to handle literally hundreds of patients, 2-4 patients per bed, who have just given birth to another human being a few hours ago or is gearing up for a major surgery later in the day. She must be willing to do hard work, lots of it, to get through the shift.

She must be understanding. Most of her patients are in pain, uncomfortable and with a crying, needy newborn in their arms. There are patients who request for painkillers right after you’ve already given it to them. There are those who complain of things, both real and imagined, and for a nurse who is currently catering to hundreds of bodies, it is sometimes exasperating to hear superficial concerns with no effect whatsoever to the patient’s health and well-being. But empathize and look into those problems, she must.

An OB nurse must be tactful. It’s not easy being around the smell of lochia and disinfectant combined all day long. The relentless crying of hundreds of babies just cannot be taken as music to the ears if heard on hours end and the sight of blood stains on gowns and bedsheets are not pretty to look at especially after one has reminded, even pleaded, for these mothers to please maintain proper hygiene while in the ward.

She must be non-judgmental. From mothers who already have ten children and counting but doesn’t want to be ligated even though the family can barely pay for the hospital fees to 15-year-old teenage mothers who obviously have not planned having a baby this early in life, it’s hard not to let personal prejudices come out and occupy one’s thoughts. But still, she must treat each patient equally without discrimination nor malice.

Lastly, an OB nurse must have patience. From nagging relatives to patients who won’t buy nor take prescribed medicine, one will encounter all kinds of people in the area. There are mothers who don’t know what to do with their first-born to those who don’t care if their baby falls off the bed or die of breast milk aspiration, these are the situations a nurse must be prepared to take care of.

The medications and interventions might be the same for most patients on the floor, but it’s the stories and personalities one meets in the ward that makes each day interesting. Handling unique circumstances with grace and dignity while maintaining that of the patients is not an easy task but it is what truly makes a great OB-GYNE nurse.

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About Clarrise E. 9 Articles
RN. Pianist. Aspiring Novelist. Dreams of changing the world one sentence at a time.