If you have an interest in medicine and love working with babies, you should consider a career as a neonatal nurse. As a neonatal nurse, you would work with newborn babies in a variety of settings. You could work in a nursery with healthy newborns or in an intensive care unit caring for critically ill premature infants. Here is the process for becoming a neonatal nurse.
Obtain An RN Degree
The first step is to attend nursing school and get your RN degree. You can attend a two-year or four-year program at a university or healthcare college. When you undergo your training, you will rotate through infant care in your studies, but you won't specialize in any type of care. Instead, you'll graduate with an RN degree and you can further your education after that. You may wish to go on and get a Masters or some other advanced degree, but all you need to begin working in a neonatal career is a basic nursing degree.
Gain Neonatal Experience
You might not find work in an intensive care setting right away, but you can gain experience working with infants by seeking employment in the well-care nursery of a hospital. You might find employment part-time while you attend nursing school. You could also work in a newborn nursery after you graduate for a while to gain experience before you apply for a job in a critical care unit if that is your area of interest.
Complete On-The-Job Training
When you're ready to begin work in a critical care nursery, find a hospital that offers training, like Kidz Medical Services. Look for a hospital with a Level 3 intensive care unit. Not all hospitals have these. Sick newborns from other hospitals are transferred to Level 3 newborn intensive care units because they are capable of providing the most skilled care for very sick infants.
These hospitals often require previous experience in caring for infants in intensive care or they provide on-the-job training that gives you gradually increasing responsibility as your nursing skills grow. Working in one of these advanced units exposes you to a wide variety of medical conditions and illnesses so your job is interesting and challenging. Plus, you'll build a strong foundation for a career as a neonatal nurse and gain knowledge that will help you advance your career and education.
You aren't limited to working in a hospital nursery or in intensive care because there are several options in neonatal careers depending on your experience, education, and interests. You may want to work in a clinic or doctor's office. You may only want to work with healthy babies or assist with labor and delivery of newborns. You'll be able to advance your career and your options throughout the years so you are constantly growing and learning new things. Even better, you'll improve the life of a newborn that depends on you for a healthy start in life.