Advice for student wanting to work in NICU


I'm working toward becoming an RN, will have my CNA in less than a month now, and my goal is to work in a NICU because my daughter was a preemie *33 week, she was only 3lbs* and the nurses helped us both SO much! What are some of the things I need to prepare myself for when I graduate? And do they allow CNA's to work in the NICU any? If so what do they do?

babyNP., APRN

1,921 Posts

Specializes in NICU. Has 15 years experience.

Some hospitals do use CNAs for NICU, although there are multiple names for an aide position; for example, we use "patient care technician." I would suggest trying to get into a children's hospital as it will probably be easier to move from a pediatric floor to the NICU if you have the peds experience. PCTs in my hospital change diapers, take temperatures, and NG or PO (bottle) feed infants. As well as miscellaneous stuff like picking up blood or running labs downstairs.

When you're a student, see if you can get days in the NICU during your pediatric or OB rotation. Most schools offer a practicum at the end of your course where you spend a quarter or a semester doing a specialty and you can see if you can request NICU (this is what I was able to do). There are various certifications you can get and I would recommend getting NRP (neonatal resuscitation program), although I would try to get it later in your program because it is a bit more difficult to grasp since you'll have little hands-on experience with babies in a code situation. I got it during my senior year of nursing school and I feel like it shows some of your commitment and passion for NICU.

Best of luck, be sure to keep us informed of how things go; be sure to read the threads about how it can be difficult to get a job in the NICU straight off the bat, although the economy may be significantly different in a few years after you graduate. Utilize the search function on this forum liberally and you'll find many answers to your questions because most of them are asked each week.


79 Posts

Thank you so much for your response! I am actually in my clinicals for my CNA class at the moment, so I'm getting experience, but it's at a nursing home. No babies there lol. I'll be sure to request NICU for my rotation so that I can see if I can handle it, and they can see my passion for it if I can! I'll be sure to keep everyone posted as well!!! =)