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nicu questions. so confused!

sabby09 sabby09 (New) New

Specializes in dementia/alzehimers,rehab,hospice.

HI everyone,

im new to the group just signed up today.im 18 and starting nursing school in a month. My goal is to become a level III nicu nurse but im unsure about how to become one. After i finish nursing school what certifications should i have? do i need extra training? if so what kind and how much schooling is required to work in level III? also if theres any other info i should know please share lol.

thanks for answering



Specializes in L/D 4 yrs & Level 3 NICU 15 yrs. Has 19 years experience.


You will graduate and take the NCLEX-RN just like everybody else in your class. You should apply for a job in the early spring. The unit where you go to work will train you, on the job. Orientation is usually several months long. You can't obtain any certifications until you have worked as a NICU RN for several years, and you are not expected to have any. You will probably take NRP (neonatal resuscitation program) after you are hired on your unit. Basically when you graduate you will be prepared to care for basic adult patients and everything you need to learn to be a NICU nurse is on the job training. Very few nursing schools even mention the NICU in their program. You may get to walk through one in your OB or Peds class.

Good Luck!!


Specializes in NICU.

You can also look for NICU internships.

I know MANY hospitals offer summer internships and externships for nursing students. I interned as a student nurse for 10 weeks in the NICU the summer before my last semester in nursing school (I graduated in December). I was NOT a nursing assistant at the time.

You have plenty of time until you get to the NICU. In the mean time, explore options. You don't need certifications. Once you are working you can look into relevant classes you can take (S.T.A.B.L.E and Cardiac S.T.A.B.L.E) but those are things you do after you start working as a NICU nurse.

If given the chance to chose between a week in L&D or a week in NICU, go to the NICU and see how it is. If your school doesn't give you a chance to have a day in the NICU, call hospitals around your area (once you are about 6-8 months away from graduation) and ask if you can have a shadow day experience.

You can PM if you have any more questions.


Specializes in L/D 4 yrs & Level 3 NICU 15 yrs. Has 19 years experience.

I agree with previous post about shadowing. Many hospitals have shadow experiences or adopt a student nurse programs. Good luck!


Specializes in dementia/alzehimers,rehab,hospice.

thank you for your replies. i started shadowing at hospitals in the maternal-newborn unit when i was 17 and loved it! recently i called around a couple of hospitals to see if i can shadow in the nicu.Hopefully i will hear from the very soon!