Advice for a man interested in NICU Nursing

  1. Hello, I am planning on going into Nursing and I am interested in working in the NICU. Any advice for me on this subject? Is it difficult for men to get into the NICU? Is the pay different from other areas? More or less? I would also like some information on becoming a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. Thanks for your help.
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    About CMAMW

    Joined: Dec '02; Posts: 14; Likes: 1
    Student, future CMA, then RN, then NP...Geez thats a lot of school


  3. by   Anaclaire
    I've worked with 4 male nurses in the NICU and all were great to work with. The fathers seemed to enjoy having another man around sometimes too. I've never heard of men having a difficult time being nurses in the NICU and all of us women got along well with them too. Where I've worked the pay is often a bit more than on the regular floors because it's considered an intensive care unit. Most of the NNPs I've known all had their BSN and their MSN and then attended 6 months to a year of schooling in a Nurse Practitioner Program. Our hospital even paid the tuition for the three staff RNs who they felt would be good NNPs (and had their BSNs at least) to go to NNP school if they agreed to work at our hospital for at least 2 years. A good deal for sure. The best NNPs I've worked with (IMHO) were staff RNs for at least 3-4 years before pursuing their NNPs. I think it's because they had plenty of hands on experience with the babies, how NICUs work in general, the dynamics of the nurse-physician relationship. Our neonatologists were generally in the NICU for the full day shift and most of the evening shift with the NNPs there too and covering the night shifts. The neonatologists would often pop in at night for difficult admissions, if a baby was crashing, if an undelivered premie mom was in L&D and expected to deliver, etc...

    One of the male RNs in our NICU was a traveling RN and made lots of money and had been doing it for years. One stayed with us for almost 5 years and then went on to be a traveler too. The other two were fresh out of nursing school and both stayed in the NICU for about a year and then one decided to go to CCU and the other decided to go to the ER.

    I only worked in one NICU, a Level III busy one, so that's all the perspective I can offer you. Maybe someone else can add something better for you.

    I will say that one reason the NICU is an interesting area is because all the nurses are generally within 3 feet of each other all the time. We chat a lot. If you are unhappy with someone it's usually best to try to get along with them anyway, because you can't LEAVE the area like a floor nurse can do. LOL

    Glad to hear you are interested in nursing and that you're interested in the NICU too. It's a fantastic place to work, in my humble opinion. I just LOVED it and plan to return soon. (I quit when I got married a couple of years ago).

  4. by   Anaclaire

    You may also find some good information about being a Nurse Practitioner on the "Nurse Practitioner Bulletin Board" too.

  5. by   llg
    I have worked with several men in NICU's. It's not as uncommon as one might think. In fact, the founder of the National Association of Neonatal Nurses (as well as it's 2nd president) were men.

  6. by   dawngloves
    I work with three of the biggest guys I've every known! I mean they could be football players! It cracks me up that they choose to care for teeny tiny babies instead of doing Trauma or something.
    Jump right in buddy and good luck!
  7. by   NICU_Nurse
    I have worked with two male RN's on my unit- one retired recently, and the other went to agency nursing, so we're down to zero. I promise you we did nothing to drive them away!! ;>) Neonatal nursing can be a very fulfilling, sometimes exciting, and sometimes (dare I say it?) boring field. I think that some men are turned off by the lack of adrenaline...most of the guys *I* graduated with went into either adult ICU or the ER after graduation. Unfortunately, none of them came to NICU. However, don't let this stop you! All nurses, regardless of gender, are needed in this area. The most important qualification is compassion and the ability to work as a real team member. There are only a handful of units in the hospital, my hospital, at least, where the staff gets along so well and feels so passionately about their jobs. Our unit is one big room, so what someone else said is correct- we spend a lot of time talking! I feel like I have a second family now, and this not only includes our currently all-female nursing staff, but the numerous male respiratory team members that work exclusively on our unit. Don't be influenced by the 'cuddle-factor'...the nurse who went to agency is a biker and the one who retired was an ex-college football player.

    As far as the NNP is concerned, the programs in this area REQUIRE you to work as a nurse for a certain number of years prior to entering; it's mandatory, not by choice. My hospital covers 80% of tuition costs if you sign a contract to work there for a certain period of time.

    Good luck! Please let us know if you have questions! Welcome to the board! ;>)
  8. by   Navy1Nurse
    Well I am a Guy, with just about 2 years here in the NICU, we are a very busy level III unit. It's awesome, and I am the only guy here, there is one LPN who works here who also happens to be male
    I see absolutely no limitations or drawbacks, as long as you feel comfortable with the babies, and also the parents. The Parent teaching is a BIG part of the Job, the baby stuff is pretty technical but , but the Parents are always the unknown variable.
    I do however usually leave the Breast-Feeding teaching to someone "More-Qualified???" Just not an area that I feel too comfortable in, But I'm sure you will find your own Comfort level...

    I have just learned to sit back and take it all in, sometimes the, hmmmm, how should I say it..."Gossip" gets to be a bit much... but I just stay out of it.
    Good luck to you, and please e-mail me if you have any questions...