Stepping Stones


Hey there! So I have this dream of being a NICU nurse. I have taken the first step and applied for nursing school. I also volunteer in the nursery at the local hospital. However, I would like some advice on how to achieve my goal. I know it is a competitive field of nursing and usually requires experience in other areas first. I would eventually like to become a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner.

Being a NICU nurse is very near and dear to my heart. I myself was a premie, weighing about 2.5 lbs. I feel like I could be a good example of a premie that has conquered many barriers. I feel this would help parents of such babies feel a little better. I am also a very tender and loving person and I feel that the tenderness of the NICU would fit me well. However, I know that being a NICU nurse is NOT easy. It is hard to see such sick little angels every day. However, I also have a strong side of me. I am able to be strong for others.

Please give me any hints/advice on good ways to reach my goal.

I know this is very broad but any input would be appreciated!



Specializes in NICU. Has 16 years experience. 1 Article; 6,677 Posts

I'm someone who also likes to do a lot of long-range planning. My advice would be to make sure you don't lose focus on the job at hand - getting admitted to nursing school. What kind of program did you apply to? When will you hear something?

I'm a NICU nurse who is also a NICU grad myself, although I wasn't premature. My medical experiences make me feel very connected to my work, but I have to be careful with families: I work in a large level 3 NICU that cares for many extremely premature babies who likely won't have the same outcomes that you and I had. The vast majority of the time I never bring up my own story, because it can just as easily mislead as it can give hope.

It is hard seeing babies who are very sick, but at the same time, newborns are amazingly tough. To me, the harder part of being a NICU nurse is the pace. When the economy is rough, that affects hospitals just as it does any other business. If staffing and budgets are tight, that means nurses must work faster to handle increased workloads - without missing any important details. (I'm just glad I'm not a med-surg nurse with 8+ patients per nurse. My brain doesn't go that many directions at once. :) )

Good luck to you! Let us know if you run into specific questions along the way.



Specializes in Home Care. 1 Article; 2,188 Posts

Look at the title of your thread "stepping stones", this is what you need to remember.

To reach your goal you need to stay focused on your immediate tasks and not get lost in the dream.



141 Posts

Thank you both for the input. I have applied to a BSN program at the Texas A&M Health Science Center. I will find out if I get in by early April.

Just to add clarity, I would not use my own personal experience as a premie to give a false reality of hope. I would most likely not even bring up my own story unless asked. However, I feel that the way my personality is shaped due to having to deal with different barriers because I was a premie draws me to being a NICU nurse.

I also feel that my abilities are helping to pave the way. I am doing well in school and are involved in many extracurricular activities that are furthering my education about the nursing field in general and that are letting me find an alternative outlet for my desire to reach out to people and care for them (until I get to go to nursing school and really get some experience).

I really really appreciate the wonderful information you have given me.



141 Posts

EricJRN: Another question! :) How long have you been a NICU nurse? Is that the type of nursing you first started doing or have you done other types before hand? If you could, please tell me some of the pros and some of the cons of being a NICU nurse.

Thank you so much!