HI amoe, and welcome to allnurses.com. You came to the right place for information.
My advice is to consider which schools of nursing you may want to attend, based on the area in which you live and degree/education program type. Check this site out:
All Nursing Schools - A Complete Directory of U.S. Nursing Programs and Your #1 Resource for Nursing Programs Admissions Info
Lists schools that have nursing programs, and types, e.g. associate's degree, bachelors, LPN, etc.
If you want to enter a specialty like neonatal, I would recommend you go straight for your RN (BSN or Associate's degree, up to you). If you can, go straight for BSN---it will carry you further if you choose to move onto management and/or administration/teaching. Once you have decided you wish to go for nursing, decide which school, and check out what pre-requisite courses you need to gain entry to nursing school.
Nursing schools are attended by winning admission
only. You don't automatically go to nursing school; it's extremely competitive to even get accepted, and the coursework is intense and difficult. I highly recommend you get all your pre-requisite coursework done or nearly done before you even apply to a school of nursing. Get the highest grades you possibly can, because most spots are won by getting good grades and having your pre-nursing coursework nearly or already completed. Some schools use a lottery system. If this is the case, it will still behoove you to have your pre-nursing coursework done as nursing school alone will keep you extremely busy----too busy, most times, to dinker around with pre-nursing classes!
Also, it would not hurt (and in some schools it is required
) to become a nurse's aide (CNA
) prior to nursing school. You will get the hands-on experiences needed to better understand what nursing is about---and learn the basics, like direct patient care activities. Some of these activities include, bathing, vital signs assessment, computer/paperwork, transfer/moving of patients, and learning to work with various members of the healthcare team, from other aides, to lab personnel, physical/occupational therapists, social workers, nursing and physicians, as well. It would be an excellent experience on which to build as you work toward becoming a licensed nurse.
Getting your CNA would depend on what is offered near you. Most courses are not that long and are often offered by local schools of nursing or techinical /trade schools. The prices of tuition for such programs vary a lot, so check them all out before you pick one. Some places/hospitals have CNA programs, as well.
This post is rather long, and to get into neonatal nursing would take another thread, almost. You can always post this question in our NICU nursing forum; the experts are there and likely can help you specifically as to what they do. It's not all cuddling babies and fun, some are very sick and social situations are difficult. It's not for the faint of heart---and the babies' families are as much your patients as those babies are. Your communication skills will need to be top-notch to enter any area of nursing, and neonatal/NICU is certainly no different!
I hope this posts helps you get started. If you have other specific questions, please do not hesitate to ask us! Again, welcome to allnurses.com.