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The 411 on Neonatal Nursing

The 411 on Neonatal Nursing

Renee Berg | Monster Contributing Writer

Special Appeal for Younger Nurses

Nurses with a maternal instinct, meticulous nature and an interest in education are drawn to neonatal nursing. But the specialty also holds appeal for young nurses seeking to work with technology. NICUs are usually stocked with the latest high tech equipment, giving preemies and ill newborns who may not have survived a generation or two ago a chance at life.

Cathy Quinn, RN, landed a position as a neonatal nurse at Tucson Medical Center in Arizona 10 years ago as a new graduate — uncommon for a new nurse at the time, but more common now.

Quinn views her job as being a liaison between the medical staff and patients’ families. It’s especially important for neonatal nurses to foster strong ties with physicians, while helping the families cope with the trying experience of having an ill child.

“[Neonatal nurses] have to care about the babies and realize the families aren’t just people,” Quinn says. “The people who stay NICU nurses are people who care about the family as a whole.”

Nurturing Long-Term Relationships

Typically, neonatal nurses work 12-hour shifts, caring for as many as three babies. Patients born slightly premature but otherwise healthy may stay in the NICU for just a few days, whereas those born with more complicated health problems may stay several months.

Developing long-term relationships with their patients is common for neonatal nurses, who often receive cards and photos of their former patients’ birthdays and holidays and even college-graduation announcements. It’s those relationships that make neonatal nursing so fulfilling, Quinn says, and the specialty one that engenders loyalty. In fact, some Tucson Medical Center nurses spend their entire careers in the NICU.

A patient’s death and seeing families in distress are the job’s biggest challenges, she says, but those experiences are rare. When a baby goes home, it’s a bright day on the NICU floor.

“You never know what the outcome will be, [but] most of us think it will be a good outcome, because that’s what we’ve seen,” Quinn says.

This article originally appeared on Monster Career Advice.


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  • Dsc09353_max50

    metot

    almost 5 years ago

    2308 comments

    Thoughtful article:)

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    NurseMotz

    about 5 years ago

    4 comments

    I am starting school in Jan. to get my BSN. I am wanting to be a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. That is my only goal. I know I have to work up to that point, but I have not found any information on what degrees I need or where to get that training. Please help If you can. Nursemotz@gmail.com is my e-mail. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

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    VictoriaNICURN

    about 5 years ago

    6 comments

    To Whom it may concern...NICU is a wonderful area of Nursing. I have been doing this for over 30 years...I was laid off last January and have not found work since...My only area of expertease in nursing is NICU and it is an area that is cencus dictated... In Phoenix the NICU cencus is way down even for my friends that have full-time jobs ...If you want to be a NICU nurse, Hang in there and be persistent...If you're meant to be an NICU RN, a position will be available for you....Every NICU trains new RNs coming on board so don't let that stop you if it's what you want.

  • Alaska__2008_199_max50

    LaceyLehn

    about 5 years ago

    8 comments

    BTW. My email address is NurseLacey@ymail.com

  • Alaska__2008_199_max50

    LaceyLehn

    about 5 years ago

    8 comments

    I really REALLY would LOVE to be a NICU nurse. That is why I got into nursing but I can't seem to get anyone to hire me as a new graduate. Any suggestions?? All these websites you go to are junk, most of the positions are no longer available. Help anyone?

  • Celeste_max50

    Newk28

    about 5 years ago

    6 comments

    I thought this would be something I'd like very much to do but when I was practicing as a medical technologist and had to draw blood from a neonate I was terrified and could not proceed. They were so tender and so much in need of protection and love I felt like I was hurting them. Totally not the response I thought I would have. My heart would hurt everyday if I pursued this.

  • Christmas2007_010_max50

    janceyrt

    about 5 years ago

    48 comments

    maryjo, with your history, they would love nothing more than to train you for neonate....any nurse needs a strong background of med/surg to have a good strong base of practice. Growing from that you will be able to work anywhere! I personally don't know if I could handle NICU....my son spent 5 weeks there and I really don't know if I could handle such sick little ones....they are so precious and it would be rewarding, but that is a huge responsibility...good luck to anyone who chooses that path!

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    Account Removed

    about 5 years ago

    Neonatal is path I strongly considering to take as a new RN. Eventually wanting to become an NNP (Neonatal Nurse Practitioner).

  • Hector_manga_avatar_max50

    Esq2bRN

    about 5 years ago

    10 comments

    This is the specialty I intend on entering as an RN.

  • Nurse_jazz_max50

    Jazzy_Future_Nurse

    about 5 years ago

    342 comments

    As a future nurses this is an area of nursing i am strongly considering.

  • Pictures_2008_163_max50

    maryjo1

    over 5 years ago

    8 comments

    This is something I would love to do but as an R.N with over 20 yrs of nursing experience in other arena's and with an associate degree to boot I am not sure if someone would be willing to hire and train me the right way. Any thoughts?

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    Account Removed

    over 5 years ago

    This where I want to work, being in the NICU seems like such a great reward. I have always loved children and babies are such a delight that I would probably smile everyday on the way to work.

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