I’m fairly certain I do not have what it takes to be a nurse, and especially not a neonatal nurse. I have the deepest respect for those men and women who devote their lives to the care of the youngest of patients. Neonatal nurses are unsung heroes.
Years of Training and Education are Required
Neonatal nursing requires being an RN, or registered nurse, with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, as well as become certified by the State Board of Nursing or through a national certification agency like National Certification Corporation.
Neonatal nurses (RNs) as well as neonatal nurse practitioners (NNP’s) work in clinics, hospitals, community-based settings and neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). They also assist in other direct and indirect nursing capacities such as consultants, conducting research, and providing education to family members and clinical staff.
After obtaining a BSN and certification, nurses can further their career and become a neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP) with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) through a 2-year program Advanced Practice Neonatal Nursing (APNN) program.
There is a Shortage of Nurses
Across the nation, there is a demand for more nurses, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that demand will continue to increase significantly throughout the next decade. This makes nursing a very lucrative career, albeit, a very demanding one. The average salary of a registered nurse (RN) is approximately $70k a year. About 10% of the nursing market makes around $104k yearly.
Long hours, physically and emotionally demanding duties, and patients that aren’t able to communicate their needs in words are all part and parcel of a neonatal nurse’s career. It’s impossible to accurately describe the vital role these incredible people play in the lives of families daily.
They Provide a Human Connection for Neonates and Their Families
When a child is born premature, underweight, or ill, it is the ever-vigilant and compassionate neonatal nurse that cares for infants in the NICU. They have the training to handle medical needs, and the heart and stamina it takes to aid struggling infants in their most fragile states of health.
Neonatal nurses have a grit and determination about them that enables them to keep doing their job to the best of their abilities under extremely stressful conditions. They not only attend to the babies of the NICU, but they comfort and educate the families of those infants.
Neonatal Nurses Are Needed Around the World
RNs who specialize in neonatal care can find employment nearly anywhere across the globe. Many nurses take their unique skills to underprivileged areas in the USA, and others share their gifts with families in undeveloped or underserved countries.
The scrubs they wear may not be spandex bodysuits, but these heroic people save lives and make the world a better place for people every single day. I may not be the type of person that would make a very good nurse, but I am thankful there are people who are.