Almost 18 with a passion to be a NICU nurse

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    Hey everyone! I'm new to the site so please forgive me if I make (what seems like) any dumb mistakes...
    I am 17 years old, 18 in March and I have a huge passion to be a neonatologist and work in the NICU with sick and/or premature babies. My daughter, who will be 1 this month, was a NICU baby so I know how it all works with scrubbing in, touch time, feeding, IV's, wires, etc. Ever since my experience with the NICU, I have had a growing interest to be a neonatologist. After doing some research, I figured out that it takes 14 years old schooling to fully complete a neonatology program. 14 years of school seems out of reach for me... I dont think I can afford it, im not 100% confident that I could get through it, etc... Is there anyone out there that can give me some advice on following this dream of mine? I hate getting discouraged! I want this so bad.

    Also, is there any program out there for people like me that can "shadow" a NICU nurse for a day or do a volunteer/internship type thing?
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    I'm confused -- your title says you have a passion for being an NICU nurse, but then the post itself says your passion is to become a neonatologist. From your estimate of 14 years of education, I'm guessing you've sorted out that a neonatologist is a physician (MD). If you really want to be a neonatologist, that's what it's going to take.

    However, if you're open to other possibilities for working in NICU, there are plenty of RNs who work in NICU settings, and also neonatal nurse pracitioners (NNPs), who are advanced practice nurses (more like physicians than "regular" RNs, but still nurses). You could be licensed as an RN with as little as two to three years of college, and be eligible to work in NICU as a staff nurse, and NNPs have a few additional years of education beyond that (but still a lot less than 14! )

    Welcome to allnurses, and good luck with your research and exploration!


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