How many years did it take you to become a neonatal nurse?

  1. I was wondering how many years does it take to become a neonatal nurse? I want to become a neonatal nurse or neonatal nurse practitioner but I want to see how many years realistically it takes. What is the beginning salary? (The money isn't a [high] factor on why I want to become a neonatal nurse but on IF I can support a family if I decide to have kids someday.)

    Also, what are the cons of becoming a neonatal nurse? It won't discourage me but prepare me mentally.

    I apologize in advance if I'm throwing many questions at once.
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  3. by   Luckyyou
    Step one: graduate from nursing school (2ish-4 years, depending on what kind of program you attend -- get a BSN to be a more competitive candidate, because everyone and their brother wants to be a NICU nurse)

    Step two: apply to nursing positions, including NICU. You may get a NICU position right out of school, you might not.

    The beginning salary is entirely dependent upon what area of the country you live in.

    Cons: The NICU is an ICU, especially a level 4. Babies die too. And sometimes, we take care of babies who should have been allowed to pass a long, long time ago, and we're keeping them alive despite their suffering. Don't just become a NICU nurse because you like babies. Shadow.

    What is it that interests you about the NICU?
  4. by   babyNP.
    "Don't just become a NICU nurse because you like babies"

    Um...that's the entire reason why I became a NICU nurse I did my peds rotation, realized that you could take care of babies full time, and that was it for me.

    OP, the salary will be the same as almost all other nurses in a hospital, maybe slightly higher for being an ICU. Salaries vary heavily based on region. I worked out in the east coast and made $60k almost 10 years ago as a new nurse. As a new grad NNP I made $98k. Now I make about $120k, although that is on the higher end for someone with my years of experience.

    Cons are it doesn't suit some personalities. You have to be able to disassociate work life (which can be stressful because it can literally life/death) from your personal life. Not always easy to do. Parents can be emotionally draining... naturally because they are experiencing the most amount of stress they've ever had in their life in many instances.
  5. by   NICUismylife
    I went straight into NICU following graduation.

    It pays the same as every other specialty locally. Salary varies widely depending on your location.

    Cons. Having your patient die in NICU is much more emotionally draining than watching your 80-year-old ICU patient die. Watching your 22-week patient suffer on a constant basis, knowing their death is inevitable, and watching them worsen every day, while their parents insist that everything continue to be done for weeks on end is a tremendous struggle. Seeing it from the parents view, and showing them compassion and providing non-judgmental education and care can be painful as well. While some days are non-stop go go go, there are other times where you have a feeder-grower assignment and end up mostly feeding and snuggling babies. It can be quiet, some people might be bored. I, personally, am an introvert, and I cherish those days where I can spend a couple hours snuggling babies in a room by myself, or shut in a one-to-one room with a critical baby that is more of a challenge. Depending on how your unit is laid out, you may be in a room by yourself (just with your patient(s) for your entire shift. An extrovert might have an issue with that. :shrugs:

    Pros: So so so many. There are more good days than bad. There are more positive cases than negative. Watching babies improve and go home. Bonding with babies that you've cared for for weeks or months on end. Developing relationships with their moms and dads. I love moms as much as I do the babies, and educating and empowering moms is downright fun for me. Snuggling babies. Most days, I leave work with a warm fuzzy feeling, looking forward to coming back to work again.