Quote from jeubanks
After volunteering with our hosp for 3 years, Neonatal nursing plagues my heart. I graduate in May 2006, but not sure what I should major in to gain that position. Should I go for RN BS or RN BSN or clinical nurse practitioner. I want to chose the field that seems most logical for the length of study and of course most ppl wont admit, but also hope to gain a sense of financial security. As money is not everything it makes life a lil nicer if you can make a decent living doing something that you love. So you all pitch in and help me make some decisions about what is the smartest route to take to make my dreams come true.
RN BS and RN BSN are the same thing, I believe. You get your bachelor's in nursing, period. You can also get an associate's degree as well (ADN or ASN). Both then take the N-CLEX RN and only after passing that, do you become an RN. There is no specialization during school or the boards - a nurse is a nurse is a nurse, upon graduation. It's only after you start working that you specialize in one field or another. True, you can work as a nursing student in the NICU, or do an intensive clinical there during your senior year - and these things do help - but it's not necessary. You get all your training in the NICU after you start working as an RN.
Now, to be an NNP (neonatal nurse practitioner), you have to work at least two years, full-time, in a NICU to qualify for the program. You can take other graduate level classes while working, so that by the time you get your two years of experience, all you have left are the intensive NICU clinical courses. HOWEVER...while many students seem to rush into becoming an NNP in the fastest time possible...it may not be wise. It's best to first become a good NICU nurse and then decide where to go from there.
I've been full-time in a NICU for seven years. I don't even feel I'm at the point yet where I would be a good nurse practitioner. Neonatal is a very challenging field and it's very hard to become an expert in just a few short years. NNPs have a huge amount of responsibility, and not a lot of time at the bedside. These two reasons alone have convinced me that I never want to have that job, even though of course as a new grad I assumed I'd eventually go for it.
Not saying don't become an NNP, just saying that it's best to get your BSN, take boards, and work in the NICU for at least a couple of years and then decide what you want to do.