Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Nursing Jobs
Neonatal nurses are the experts who care for newborns throughout the first 28 days of their lives, usually in a hospital setting. The care that neonatal nurses provide depends upon the baby’s gestational age, method of delivery and overall health. Nurses administer vaccines, medications and diagnostic tests and operate sophisticated medical equipment such as ventilators, incubators and phototherapy lamps. They also support and educate parents about their baby’s unique circumstances and future care requirements. You could work in a Level I, Level II, Level III area (NICU) or Level IV (which has even higher acuity patients than a NICU). These professionals work as part of a neonatal care team. Nurses must remain composed, caring and in control during their busy shifts.
After graduation with your nursing degree, training is provided by the employer, both in classes and in the NICU through a mentorship or preceptor program. Training may take six weeks to three months, depending on a nurse’s prior experience. Some facilities require new graduates to have a one or two years of general nursing or maternal nursing experience before working in their NICU. Alternatively, some units prefer new graduates who do not have experience in other units, so they may be trained in the specialty exclusively. Advanced practice nurses receive intensive training in graduate school and subsequently receive on-the-job training.
Salaries tend to be higher on both coasts and major Midwest cities. Neonatal nurses who become Advanced Practice RNs will enjoy higher salaries. According to Indeed.com, NICU nurses make $66,000 on average.