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Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse

Everyone hopes for the delivery of a healthy baby. However, that is unfortunately not always the case. Some babies are born with defects, illnesses, or other health problems that need immediate medical attention. Neonatal intensive care nurses work with these infants, most of whom are premature babies in need of special technology and treatment to sustain their tiny bodies. Neonatal intensive care nurses work under the guidance of neonatologists, monitoring the infant’s condition and recording the infant’s response to treatment, administering any medications and intravenous drips described in the neonatologist’s treatment plan, and ensuring the overall healthy development of the baby.

Nurses specializing in neonatal intensive care must be registered nurses (RNs) due to the delicate nature of the patients. To become an RN, one must obtain either a diploma from a nursing school, an associate degree in nursing, or a bachelor’s degree in nursing. During the nursing program, students should take courses in pediatrics, neonatal nursing, and child development. After graduating from the nursing program, prospective nurses must successfully complete the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). After this, nurses can work in neonatal intensive care units to help give premature and weakened newborn infants another chance at life.

A whopping nine percent of all newborn babies need care in the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), according to the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. Though this is a scary time for parents, the quick and skillful work of specialized neonatal health care professionals and the advancements in medical technology allow for many of these babies to fully recover. With a booming population, more neonatal intensive care nurses will be needed to care for the inevitable increase in newborns needing special treatment. Neonatal intensive care nurses earn about $39,000 annually, according to Nurses for a Healthier Tomorrow.