Random questions about starting in the NICU

  1. HI I am very interested in becoming a neonatal nurse. I've just started college so I have a long way to go but I have many questions about becoming a neonatal nurse. Ok first off, I would like to know what is the best way to pursue the NICU.

    Should I do a year in med-surg (I really don't want to work with adults or the elderly) before I start in the NICU or should I start in the NICU right after I graduate?

    What exactly is a preceptorship? When could I do a preceptorship (what year in college)? Does every college offer one?

    Approximately how much would a neonatal nurse make her first year?

    If a hospital offers orientation, should I worry about starting my first year in another unit?

    Would I still be a neonatal nurse in the Well Baby unit or the Mother-Baby unit? (I know... this is a stupid question)

    Please help me answer all these questions... I am kind of lost right now!
    •  
  2. 1 Comments

  3. by   EricJRN
    Hi Babylover -

    It's great that you're interested in working as a neo nurse. How to get into the NICU - that is the subject of much passionate debate. Some people feel like a new graduate should spend at least one year in med-surg prior to attempting any critical care environment like the NICU. I can tell you though that many hospitals (especially larger ones) offer new graduate nurse internship programs in specialties like neonatal intensive care. It's a great way to get started. Most of these programs will keep you on as a staff nurse after the internship.

    Preceptorships usually refer to extended clinical rotations that a student takes near the end of school. Not every program offers preceptorships though.

    Pay is something that varies from nurse to nurse. It varies more with geographic location though, as opposed to your specialty. Some hospitals do pay NICU nurses slightly more than some other nurses, simply because it's considered critical care nursing. You should check out websites like www.salary.com to find out what nurses are making in your area.

    Nurses in newborn nursery and mother-baby still make great contributions and really have to be 'on top of their game' to spot potential problems, so it's a great alternative to working in neonatal intensive care. In fact, many NICU nurses work part-time jobs on such units.

    Good luck to you!

close