Neonatal nursing career background and stories!

  1. 0
    I am a high school senior and i really would like to be a neonatal nurse preferably in level 1! I really would like for someone that is a neonatal nurse to help me figure out that this is the job for me because my local hospitals won't let me shadow unless it is school related. So I was wondering if there is anyone that is a neonatal nurse and can tell me what they had to do after nursing school and describe the pros and cons of the neonatal nursing career preferably your career story!
    Thanks a ton! You can either post on this or email your response to me: laronicavan@gmail.com

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  2. 4 Comments...

  3. 0
    Level 1 is slowly going to extinction because it is just healthy, full-term babies. Those kids are going into what's called "couplets" where you are taking care of a post-partum mother and her newborn. For that, you'd want to look into being a mother-baby nurse. Level III is where you have the sick and premature babies.

    There is a lot of information on this board in regard to your questions; I would do a search and look. Good luck! Let us know how things go!
  4. 6
    If you want background stories, I'll tell you mine.

    I worked for almost 16 years in state corrections, including 14 years on death row as an officer and as a supervisor. Followed that up with gang intervention and a bit of mental health on the prison level. Also did county sheriff's dept part time for many years.

    I became a nurse at 41. Went directly into the NICU out of school, after doing my preceptorship there in my last nursing school semester. I knew from my first semester in school that I wanted NICU. I was fascinated by it because my first grandchild was in a NICU for a few days.


    Being an ol' dude, I have gotten some funny looks from people when I told them I wanted to be a NICU nurse. Especially when they think about my transition from death row to the NICU.

    It's the best decision I've ever made, though. I love the career (though not always loving the job/people), and will never do any other type of nursing, if I have a choice.

    Sitting in my home office, typing this, I can look to the right and see pictures, cards, gifts, and letters of thanks from some of the parents whose babies I've cared for in the 3 years I've done this. I keep them all, and they are very precious to me.


    I recently attended the 1st birthday parties of two of my favorite past patients...two of the sickest 24-26 weekers that I've ever been assigned. I was very proud of the fact that MY CARE contributed to the fact that those precious babies were alive and eating 1st-birthday-cake. I saw one of them just last week, at our local March of Dimes Walk-a-thon. The hug of gratitude from the mother meant a lot to me. Snuggling the baby again meant more.


    Of course, not all cases in the NICU (especially a level III) are happy endings. I lost the very first patient I ever cared for, after having her for 3 months. I was devastated. Attending the funeral of that precious human was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I've lost too many others over the intervening 3 years. It's hard. It hurts. It makes me angry when I lose one after fighting SO HARD to keep them alive.


    It's also HARD when you have parents that insist on "doing everything!", when you know the baby has no chance in hell, and "doing everything" is doing nothing other than torturing the baby AND the parents (and the nurse). I've prayed for babies to die...before entering the field, I'd have never imagined doing so.


    To sum it up, though, the good FAR, FAR outweighs the bad. I am passionate about my work in the NICU. I've never been able to say that about a job before. I love what I do, I love the babies, and I'm glad life led me down this path. I wish I'd found it 20 years earlier.

    Good luck to you.
    carygt3, Plover1, brandi-007, and 3 others like this.
  5. 6
    You haven't said what interests you about the field. It is NOT all cute Gerber-babies in the NICU. Many of our patients are downright frightening in appearance. Go to You Tube and look at videos people post of their babies' at delivery or in the NICU.

    That said: I LOVE what I do. It is highly technical, but also highly human and humane. On the one hand, I may have one patient with 3 or more IV fluids running, a ventilator to manage, and be taking blood for labs every few hours, then changing things or giving meds to correct those labs. On the other hand, I may have a baby who is healthy, close to going home and needs to be held or rocked (those are rare though, most of the babies at our facility have parents who are around all the time).

    The pros are that I find the work intellectually stimulating and emotionally satisfying. I also feel very proud and special when I say I'm a NICU nurse & I think people are impressed. Most babies are success stories (at least with the population at my facility). I am at low risk for a lifting injury - although I could get hurt pushing around large equipment. And also low risk of being injured by my patient - occassionally a threatening parent comes along, but we can get them thrown out.

    The cons ... I can only think of two. The first is that after all these years, I don't know adult meds at all, though I do still have a good understanding of physiology and disease process. The second is that sometimes babies die and I don't think one can ever "get used to" that.
    umcRN, Yesuba, MiniBabyRN, and 3 others like this.
  6. 2
    I am 29 and it wasn't until my lil precious angel was born last May that I firmly decided I wanted to become a nurse. I am a Marine and it was only a few short years ago when I was in Iraq where kids were blowing themselves up because of their parents belief. Before the Marines all I wanted to do was become a Doctor. I never even thought about a guy being a nurse in my teenage years. The strangest thing happened though. My daughter was hours away from being born and my heart was pulling at me, trying to tell me all those times I had been to the hospital in my life and enjoyed being there wasn't a strange fetish but a calling; a calling to become a nurse.

    While walking my wife around the hospital trying to help the baby along, I kept peering into the NICU in amazement. I even got the nurses there to spare some of their time to tell me about nursing. There is something about babies for me. I don't know what it is. Big Bad Marine, all tough and hard-shelled, but when it comes to the lil ones, I'm like a teddy bear and would fight to the death to protect them. My daughter, the most wonderful organism on this planet (to me at least), is absolutely an angel sent from heaven to push me in the right direction. I've never loved anything so much in my life. It's such a pure love. Can't be explained, only felt.

    She reminds me everyday how much I really want to be in the NICU one day. After a year I finally made it into Nursing School. I'm in my first pre-reqs really, but I know time fly's and before I know it, school will be over and it will be time to save some lives. I take that very seriously! A life is precious and nothing to play around with. That's why I stay focused on my studies. O.k.! Well I'll step down off of the peddle stool now, just thought I would share my experience with the NICU and my calling to become one of the outstanding professionals that ensures the safety and care of those precious lil ones. Thanks to those that are already saving lives, you are truly heroes in my eyes.

    God Bless
    brandi-007 and Bortaz, RN like this.


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