How to Become a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Nurse
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Nurses are responsible for looking after critically ill (or healthy) newborn infants who require intensive medical care and nurturing. Their job duties include administering nutrients and medication, monitoring vitals and educating new parents on how to take care of the newborn after discharge. These professionals are usually employed at private hospitals, public hospitals and community health organizations.
If working for long hours doesn’t intimidate you and you have a passion for helping others, then you should think about starting a career in nursing. Here’s a guide that will explain to you how to become a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Nurse.
Should I Become a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Nurse?
If you are passionate about taking care of fragile and vulnerable premature newborns, then a career as a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Nurse would be ideal for you.
Aspiring registered nurses have to meet a long list of education and licensing requirements. These are discussed in the table below.
|Education Required||A Diploma/an Associate’s degree/a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing|
|Training||On-the-job training isn’t required.|
|Key Skills/Qualities||Organizational Skills, Detail-Oriented, Compassion, Critical Thinking Skills, Physical Stamina and Organizational Skills.|
|Annual Mean Salary (2019) – National||$77,460 (Registered Nurses)|
|Job Outlook (2018-2028)||12% (Registered Nurses)|
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics
It is predicted, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, that jobs for registered nurses will grow by 12% between 2018 and 2028.
Steps to Become a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Nurse
The process of becoming a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Nurse incorporates the following steps:
1. Complete Your Nursing Education :In order to start your nursing career, you will be required to obtain the right knowledge and training. Therefore, you will have to graduate from a nursing program that has been approved by your State Nursing Board. You have the option of completing an Associate’s degree program or a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing.
2. Obtain a License:The second step involves registering for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). You will have to pass this exam in order to get licensed.
3. Gain Experience in Neonatal Care and Pediatrics :After getting licensed, you will be required to gain two or more years of relevant experience working with infants before deciding to take the certification exam for neonatal nursing.
4. Seek Certifications:Although it is not mandatory to get certified, it is definitely recommended because it will help you advance your career. You can obtain the Critical Care Neonatal Nursing Certification through the American Association of Critical Care Nursing. Later, you can also undertake a Master’s degree and progress as a Neonatal Advanced Practice Nurse.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Nurse?
Candidates have to initially obtain a 4-year long Bachelor’s degree or a 2-year long Associate’s degree in Nursing. Then, candidates have to pass a licensure exam and have to work in Neonatal Care and Pediatrics for a minimum of two years before taking the certification exam for Neonatal Nursing.
What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Nurse?
If you are planning to become a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Nurse, then you will have to meet the following conditions:
- You must obtain an Associate’s or a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing.
- You must be able to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).
How Much Does a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Nurse Earn?
The wage statistics for Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Nurses are not available on BLS; therefore we will use the employment data of the broad category. It has been reported that Registered Nurses working in the United States made a yearly mean pay of $77,460 in May 2019.