Neontal Nurse Practitioners/Neonatal Nurses!!??

  1. I'm new to this site, so I apologize in advance if I post this in the wrong section :/

    I'm 17. I was supposed to be a senior in HS this year, but long story short, I got my diploma from a home school & I just started college on Monday. I'm gonna take as many prerequisites as I can before transferring to SHSU for my BSN. After that, I plan on working as an RN for 2 years before applying to a graduate school to get my Masters in Neonatal Nursing. My ultimate long term goal is to be a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner.

    I have some questions for all the NP's & NNP's out there, so please please please take the time to answer, because it would mean the world to me to get some advice from the women (and men) who are in this field

    1) Is my plan correct? Do I need to work as an RN before applying to graduate school to get my masters? What would you reccomend my plan be, if this is incorrect?

    2) How many hours a week do you work? Are you on call? Do you work day/swing/night? Do you have husbands and families? If yes, do you still have time to be a mom/wife without feeling like you're stretching yourself far too thin?

    3) Do you love your job? What is the best part about your job? The most rewarding? The worst part? The scariest part? Your funniest moment? Your saddest moment?

    4) Not to be too nosy (you can use ranges if that makes you feel more comfortable), but on average, how much is your annual salary?

    6) What kind of scrubs do you wear (any specfic colors/patterns?) What kind of stethoscope (if any??) do you use? Just any helpful tips would be greatly appreciated

    Let me make it clear that I AM NOT DOING THIS FOR THE MONEY! I LOVE babies. Ever since my nephew was born, I knew in my heart that I was meant to be a NNP, but I would just like an idea on what I can expect once I start working. So please, don't think that I'm shallow or anything. I truly want to be a NNP and I would love more than anything to know that I am helping newborns every single day. I just don't want to enter this profession without being fully educated on everything about it. Thanks again
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    About Jamie_Loves_Stephen

    Joined: Sep '11; Posts: 5
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  3. by   babyNP.
    You can actually do a search and get the answers to many of your questions on the archives, but I have some time, so I can answer...

    1. Yes, you need to work as a RN in a NICU (level 3) for at least two years. This is unique among NP programs; most of them you don't *have* to have experience. But in order to be board certified, you need the experience. Honestly, you'll need the two years anyway because your nursing school will spend next to nothing on infants in your schooling. Nearly the only time you would learn about them would be OB, but those are healthy babies. Infants are extraordinarily different from adults, so you'll be de-learning much of the stuff that you learned in school. However, you still need to know it because you have to pass the NCLEX in order to become a RN and it is mostly focused on adults.

    2. That question is not specific to NICU, but to nursing in general. Read the general nursing forum and you'll get a good feel for the answer to those questions. Most NICU RNs work three 12 hour shifts a week, some places make you rotate, some make you start on nights and then as you gain seniority, you can switch to days. I am married and I enjoy having 4 days off sometimes I can have 8 days off in a row without using vacation time if I work Sun, Mon, Tue and then Thur, Fri, Sat the next week. You will most likely be required to work every other weekend when you start out. The shifts where I work are 7am-7pm and 7pm to 7am.

    3. Gah, i can't do it. I've answered this question too many times and it's asked at least once a month if not more on this forum. There's actually a sticky at the top of this forum with folks answers.

    4. Salary is dependent on the region in which you live. East coast tends to make $55-65k starting out, midwest more like $45k, California bay area starts out at $100k. The cost of living for the places vary considerably and you have to take into account state income taxes as well. I live on the east coast and paid taxes on $65,000 in my first year of nursing.

    5. Scrubs are dependent on the hospital. Some make you wear their own, some let you wear what you want. Most babies come with their own stethescope these days, but most places will also let you buy your own. I'm looking into doing this myself in the next few months, so I'm looking at reviews...

    Side note--it's a little hard to get into NICU straight out of school (not as bad if you're willing to move). In this economy, even harder. When I applied for my current job at one the top NICUs in the country, there were 60 apps for 10 spots. 3 years later, there were 600 apps for 20 spots and 50 interviews. I would definitely recommend focusing on schoolwork and getting good grades, volunteering in a NICU if you can or at a pediatric hospital. Use connections as you get them. Tell your professors you want to do your senior practicum (your last semester in school where you do an extended internship) in a NICU.

    Good luck! Let us know how things go
  4. by   NICU_babyRN
    Hey there,
    Your plan isn't half bad and I love your enthusiasm.
    I would keep in mind that the nursing regulations for advanced practice nursing are changing. By 2015, Masters programs for nursing will no longer exist and in order to become a NP you will actually do a DNP program. They are focused on your specialty area, like Neonatal DNP. Look into this.

    The NNPs in my unit work days and are also on-call. So sometimes they are on for 24hrs. They go on transport calls with RNs. Many of them are wives and moms too and they love what they do.

    Best thing for you to do now is: get through nursing school, try to find a NICU job which is REALLY TOUGH right now. If you are able and willing to relocate, do it! Also, look at possible DNP programs and see if you'd be able to get any "general education" classes out of the way while in undergrad, likely an advanced stats class!

    Good luck!
  5. by   babyNP.
    Actually, that's not true about the DNP. It's not being mandated, but rather recommended. There are plenty of schools that have no plans for DNP, including some prestigious ones like UCSF and UPenn.

    Only state BON can mandate a DNP for practice as a NP.