My Clinical Experience in Labor and Delivery


Cydnee Capps, Photography Editor

Dyer County High School offers a Clinical Internship to seniors that meet the following criteria: less than six absences a semester, passing grades in Health Science courses, correct and updated immunization record, and a negative TB skin test. The class is a semester-long and allows students to job shadow in a clinical area such as physical therapy. Mostly, students job-shadow at the Dyersburg Hospital. Each rotation is three weeks long, and we attend from 8:00 AM-9:00 AM on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. For my first rotation, I was at Labor & Delivery/Nursery. Due to HIPPA laws and regulations, I can’t go into extreme detail about my experience and the cases I saw, but I can vaguely write about them. 


Being a small town hospital, it isn’t always full of babies and expecting moms. My first week there was pretty slow. Luckily for me, most mothers come in for inductions around 7-8 in the morning so I often saw the process of admitting an expecting mother. I was able to see how an IV is started, how different monitors are hooked up, and what each monitor shows. I learned that every mother that comes in to be induced has to be pumped with fluids, also called Lactate Ringer. They are also NPO, which is the medical term for nothing by mouth (except for ice chips). 


I also learned about a medication called oxytocin (Pitocin). It is used to stimulate contractions, helping a mother to labor more quicker. It is administered intravenously, and is known in the hospital as ‘Satan in a Bag”. Often, moms will begin to receive their Pitocin drip and will soon request their epidural, which helps to relieve the pain by temporarily numbing the area from your belly button to your upper legs. 


Sometimes, mothers would come in to be induced but their bodies would not respond to the Pitocin. There was one patient like this, and the doctor had to manually break her water. However, doing this caused the umbilical cord to squeeze the baby since it didn’t have all of the amniotic fluid to let it flow freely. The squeezing caused the baby’s oxygen levels to drop. The nurses stopped her Pitocin which was also causing the umbilical cord to squeeze the baby and put her on oxygen. 


I also had the opportunity to witness a c-section. I was able to see the anesthesiologist inject the patient prior to surgery via a needle in her spine. I witness them prep her skin and begin making incisions. This was my first time ever seeing a baby take its first breath. I watched the doctor cut the umbilical cord, deliver the placenta, and even stitch the patient back up. 


I was able to go to the nursery and see the nurses do all the required tests for a newborn. I saw them weigh babies, measure them, take their vital signs, and give them their first bath. I also learned that the state requires every baby to have a hearing test using either Automated Auditory Brainstem Response (AABR) or Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE)


I am so thankful that Dyer County High School offers such a helpful program, and I am so glad that I met the requirements to take it. The program has helped me to realize that I would enjoy being an Infant/Toddler nurse in the future. I have witnessed so many amazing things that most people don’t because of the opportunities this program offers.