I am currently in school for my Bachelors degree in nursing. I'm lost as to what I can do to be able to specialize in the Neonatal area. My goal is to work in the NICU. I've looked at some of the websites and I'm just missing something. The Universities in San Antonio don't seem to have any neonatal specialization classes.
Mar 17, '07
This is an area that I have interest in too. I have seen some colleges and universities that have a Neonatal Nurse Practioner program.
I am not sure if you are interested in that route or not, but that s the "search" that you would use to pull up tons of programs.
If you find something else, let me know as well.
Mar 18, '07
You should post this question in the NICU forum here on this board.
But I *think* that after you graduate you could try to find a hospital NICU to employ you as a new grad. They would provide with sufficient training through an orientation proram. Not every NICU will hire new grads, but I think that there are some out there.
Definitely try the NICU sub-forum, I'm sure they would have more in depth advice.
Mar 18, '07
In the United States, you don't "specialize" in a single area of nursing at the undergraduate level. The entry level programs (ADN, Diploma, BSN) produce generalists that are prepared for entry-level jobs in all the specialties. Some programs include an indepth clinical experiences in the final semester that give the student some extra preparation in an area, but that's not an official specialization or certification.
When you graduate and get an RN license, get a job as an NICU staff nurse and they will give you classes and supervised clinical experience as part of your orientation. Many NICU's hire new grads, but not all do. Some require a year or two of experience as a staff nurse first. After a couple of years of practicing in a NICU, you will be eligilbe to take an exam to be certified as a NICU nurse, but that is optional. Also, if you want to go to graduate school and get an MSN or DNP etc., you can study to be a Neonatal Clinical Nurse Specialist, Neonatal Nurse Practioner, Neonatal Staff Development Specialist, Neonatal Nurse Admitrator, etc. Many advanced practice roles are available with additional training and experience.
Mar 19, '07
llg is right. Also, when you begin your RN program and get closer to the OB/peds rotation, let your instructor know that you want to work in a NICU. You can request that they place you in one if they are set up to do clinicals there. This may or may not actually happen, but let your request be known anyway and that way you may at least have a chance. Otherwise, once you are an RN, just start applying to the NICUs you find as a new grad and, as llg said, they will then orient you into that specialty.
Best of luck! Enjoy the journey!
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