Labor and Delivery Travel Nurse: Salary, Job Requirements and More

Are you a new nurse interested in travel nursing jobs in labor and delivery? Or are you a current nurse who’s interested in expanding your skills and learning more about labor and delivery travel nurse hiring? Like all specialties, you’ll need at least two years of recent experience as a L&D nurse before you can take a labor and delivery travel nurse job. Experience matters a lot in this specialty so nurses can properly support mothers and babies during the delivery process so most facilities strictly adhere to the two year rule. Read on and then check out our board full of travel nurse jobs and connect with a Triage recruiter to get started. 

What Exactly is Labor and Delivery Travel Nursing? 

Most people think they know what labor and delivery nursing is like. TV shows and movies frequently show women giving birth, though the focus is often on the doctor and mother, rather than the L&D nurses. In most shows and movies, the nurses work soundlessly in the background as the focus is on the mother and doctor.  

L&D RNs care for women during labor and delivery and immediately after birth. They monitor and assess the mother during labor and coach her throughout the birthing process. They can also assist with epidural placement, if the mother requests one. After the baby is born, they assess and monitor the mother for pain and bleeding, while also keeping watch over the new baby, checking their breathing, vitals and blood sugar levels.  

Some L&D RNs have experience with high-risk cases, working alongside OBs who work with patients with diabetes, preeclampsia, multiple births, prematurity, low birth weight and infant mortality. The goal of a high-risk L&D nurse is to keep the mom pregnant as long as possible to give the baby the best chance of staying out of the NICU.  

Still other L&D nurses assist during c-sections. They help prep the mom for surgery, help in the OR and care for the moms in the post-op PACU. These nurses will circulate and will need to place catheters, perform instrument counts to ensure everything is accounted for before closing up the patients and follow the doctor’s orders during the operation. After birth, the baby has a separate team to assess their health and APGAR score.  

Day or Night Shifts for L&D Nurse  

In some nursing specialties, there’s a distinct difference between day and night shifts. However, in labor and delivery, there’s action throughout the day and night. While days may be busier with scheduled c-sections or inductions, babies can come at any time, meaning some nights can be incredibly busy. While it’s unlikely that scheduled c-sections happen overnight, emergencies can always occur so night shift nurses need to also have experience with c-sections.  

If you prefer a specific shift while on travel assignments, make sure to communicate this to your recruiter and check that it’s written into your contract and communicated to the scheduler at the facility.  

Labor and Delivery Travel Nurse Requirements 

To be a successful labor and delivery travel nurse, nurses need to be able to start IVs, do electronic fetal monitoring, run IV dips, insert catheters and perform cervical checks. Additionally, these nurses need some certifications such as BLS, ACLS, NRP, and Advanced or Intermediate AWHONN. Certain facilities may have additional requirements so make sure to ask your recruiter if there are more requirements before you accept an assignment.  

Ratios can be low in L&D, usually about 1:1-2. 

Additionally, labor and delivery nurses need to be incredibly patient and flexible, especially with first-time moms. Labor is uncomfortable and first-time moms might need more help and support throughout the entire process. L&D nurses also need to be able to manage multiple types of personalities and most of them will have stories of gatekeeping family members who are trying to come in to meet a new baby. Family members are usually excited about new babies, but sometimes new parents need that time to themselves, and nurses help keep this time special for new parents. 

L&D nurses also need to have at least two years of recent experience in this specialty in order to travel. This is pretty standard throughout the travel industry because travelers will need to come onto the floor and immediately be able to assist families during the birthing process. Travel labor and delivery nurses might get a day or two to learn the facility or unit, where supplies are kept and any unit-specific procedures that are unique to the facility. 

Floating Opportunities 

Many L&D nurses don’t float, except to very specific units. If the high-risk OB unit is separate, they may be asked to float to the high-risk unit. Some larger hospitals may also have separate post-partum, nursery and GYN units and L&D nurses may float there too, depending on what’s available.  

How Much Do Labor and Delivery Travel Nurses Make a Week? 

Labor and deliver travel nurse pay and job opportunities look good in the next few years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs are expected to grow 6% between 2021 and 2031. Staff L&D nurses have an average salary of $75,000, though this can vary greatly by location. For instance, in West Virginia, nurses in this specialty have an average salary of about $68,000, $75,000 in Texas and almost $86,000 in Alaska. 

Labor and delivery travel nurse pay can vary by a lot. Since a large portion of labor and delivery travel nurse salary is based on a location’s stipend, it’s possible to see higher rates in higher cost of living areas, such as California and along the East Coast. While travel rates can change quickly, currently (as of February 2023), travel L&D nurse weekly rates range from highs of $4100 in California, to $3900 in Massachusetts, all the way down to under $2000 in parts of Arkansas and Missouri. If you have specific financial needs, it’s vital that you work with your recruiters to find travel nurse jobs that meet your pay requirements. Just realize that you may need to be flexible about your location if pay is the most important part of your requirements.  

If you’re a new traveler, you need to understand just how rates are determined before you take your first job. Your recruiter should walk you through the process of putting together a pay package, but here’s a short run-down. Every position has a specific rate that’s available for travelers, then the agency divides up the money into an hourly salary, plus then a stipend. The hourly salary is subject to taxes, but the stipend is considered tax-free because it is meant to reimburse travelers as they duplicate expenses while they travel.  

Finding Labor and Delivery Travel Nurse Positions Near Me 

Although there are travel nurse jobs boards that you can use to find positions, your best bet is to start with your recruiter. With one quick conversation with your recruiter, they’ll be able to understand what your priorities are (and we know, no one likes to talk on the phone, but it really is the most efficient and effective way to get you on the road). Your recruiter will talk to you about your experience and expectations about pay, location and the type of unit you’re looking for.  

However, it’s important to understand that you may need to be flexible. It might not be possible to get exactly what you want, especially if you have strict requirements on pay or location. This is when it’s important for your recruiter to shoot you straight and you want this! The last thing you want to do is sign a contract for 13 weeks, only to realize that your recruiter sold you on something that doesn’t exist. A good recruiter doesn’t want to send you to a location or facility that you’ll hate—if you have a miserable experience, it’s unlikely that you’ll want to work with your recruiter again. Good recruiters value long-lasting relationships over a quick contract. 

Creating Your L&D Travel Nurse Resume 

Once you’ve clicked with a recruiter, you’ll be asked to put together a travel nurse resume. This is pretty easy with Triage because we use Kamana as our compliance tool. You’ll enter in some information, such as your license, any required vaccinations, where you’ve worked in the past and even references. After you do say yes to a position, you’ll be able to use this information that’s already included in your Kamana profile to make the compliance process easier.  

Kamana allows you to share this resume with any travel nurse agency or recruiter, even one that’s not Triage. After you have all your information within the program, you’ll just need to click a button and it will create an organized PDF that you can then email directly to a recruiter or upload into an agency or hospital portal. It really is that easy.  

If you’re ready to start the search for labor and delivery travel nurse jobs, check out our travel nurse jobs board, or connect with a recruiter today.