Curious about men in NICUs

Specialties NICU


:rolleyes: HI everyone. I am a male student in my second year of an associates RN program. Ever since my OB rotation, I have had a great interest in neonates. I was the only student who would walk to the special care nursery every clinical day just to observe. My questions are: Do many men work in NICUs, and is there ever problems with men in the units as employees? I guess you don't see many guys doing it because they have no interest, but can a guy be successful in a NICU?


Gompers, BSN, RN

2,691 Posts

Specializes in NICU.

I've seen a couple of guys here and there, working NICU. Most of them seem to be travelers or agency nurses - things you can't do until you have at least a year (preferably two years if you're doing ICU) experience for. I think it's because most NICU nurses are women, and being the "only guy" might wear on someone after awhile, so going from unit to unit might be a nice change of pace for these guys. But I've never seen a problem with men working NICU, like as far as parents are concerned and stuff. Just be prepared to work with like 99% women, LOL!

Our docs and respiratory therapists are 50/50 men and women.

Just go where your instincts take you. If NICU interests you, go for it!!! The number one way to avoid burnout in nursing (especially that first year or two on the job) is to work in an area that you're passionate about. It REALLY helps, because no matter how crazy things get while you're still want to go to work everyday because you just love working with that population. And you DO NOT have to do a year of med-surg before moving on, so don't let anyone talk you into that! New grads do just as well starting in NICU as nurses with adult experience, and sometimes they do even better because they don't have to "unlearn" things they've picked up working elsewhere. GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


107 Posts

We have 4 male nurses in our unit and one male NNP. They do's what they love. If NICU is what you want to do...go for it. Good luck. We also have several RT's that are male.

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

I have worked with several male nurses in NICU and haven't seen any of them have any special problems because of their gender. In fact ... the founder of the National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN) was/is a man, as was the person who succeeded him as the 2nd president of the organization. At least 2 other early members of the board were/are also men.

You may not have personally run into many personally, but men have played important roles in the history of neonatal nursing.


TiffyRN, BSN, PhD

2,315 Posts

Specializes in Nurse Scientist-Research.

My husband has been an NICU nurse for over 2 years now. He loves the work with the babies. Working with all women is another matter. . . But that would be a reality in most areas of nursing. The only issue I think is unique is that unlike many other specialites, some female nurses in NICU (and I'm sure OB) feel that there shouldn't be men in that area. His unit was slow to accept him as "one of the pack". In the NICU I work in we have 3 guys that work regularly (not contract/travelers) and I think they are well accepted and integrated. We also have a guy who is an NNP.

Remember though that each work environment is different. My husband's work place seemed hesitant to have a man in what many perceived to be female territory (the thought was a man can't be nurturing enough to deal with neonates). That thought doesn't seem to be prevalent where I work.

I work with three huge guys. You'd think they'd be trauma types, but no. They love the babies. And it's so funny to see these football player types feeding these little three pound babies.

Good luck!


208 Posts

I've worked with several male NICU nurses over the years. They all got along just fine. One good thing we noticed is that when parents visit, the male nurses are often very well received by the fathers. The fathers seem to look toward the male nurses as role models while they learn to do care giving activities for their babies. Often a wonderful, professional friendship would occur between the men which was encouraging for certain fathers because it appeared to help them with feeling more comfortable and less alienated in the NICU. (The NICU is often filled with women and babies... a place very different from where most men feel naturally comfortable. So, having more men around seems to have a comforting affect on some fathers.)

The NICU I'm currently working in has just hired a male new graduate RN. I understand that before I came to work here there had been a male nurse who everyone loved because he had a great sense of humor. This NICU is rather small as compared to my other NICU job, but my manager obviously is supportive of male NICU nurses, as I like to believe most managers would agree with.

I say, "Hooray for male NICU nurses!", and I encourage all nurses to work in the area they are passionate about.


2 Posts

I want to thank everyone for responding to my first post on this site. I feel encouraged by the words, and plan to pursue a NICU nursing position upon graduating in the spring. Living near Columbus, OH (1.5 hrs) I could easily relocate and find work there. Its good to know not all nurses "eat their young".


Joe Rammel:rolleyes:

prmenrs, RN

4,565 Posts

Specializes in NICU, Infection Control.

MMMMMMM, munch, munch. YUMMM. (couldn't resist)

Can't eat those young'uns--too many calories.


41 Posts

worked with 4 men RN's in level 3 nicu. one of them decided on education, the other a clinical specialist/trasporter and the other 2 stayed at the bedside and are happy as clams. 3 of the 4 have been in the same nicu for over 15 years.

Still Riding

200 Posts

Do what makes you happy! If that is what you like than just give'r.

that's just what I think.


Specializes in NICU and neonatal transport.

I work with a few male nurses in NICU, they do just the same as the females! Only thing is, one of them has just passed his 'baby friendly' training which is to do with breat feeding....he said to me 'well it's all well and good but not many mums come up to me and say "scuse me, my nipples are all cracked"'

He has a point, but otherwise he does the same job as me.

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