How to Become a Neonatal Nurse (2023)


August 9, 2022

How to Become a Neonatal Nurse (1)

How to Become a Neonatal Nurse (2)

By: Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

How to Become a Neonatal Nurse (3)

How to Become a Neonatal Nurse (4)Medically reviewed by: Kathleen Gaines MSN, RN, BA, CBC

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nursing is a specialty of nursing that deals with the care of sick or premature babies, as well as babies dealing with birth defects. NICU nurses are registered nurses that have gained experience working with neonatal patients and potentially also become certified in an area related to this. You can have either an ADN or a BSN to work as a neonatal nurse.

It takes a special person to become a nurse, but that's even more true for those who go on to become Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nurses. These dedicated professionals care for the most fragile patients there are -- sick and premature newborns. In addition, they are on the front lines when it comes to helping scared parents through what is often a traumatic experience.

Find out more about what it takes to become a NICU nurse, and why those who choose this track, are doing society a special service.

There are many types of nursing specialties, some of which deal with a particular type of patient. That is the case for Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Nurses. Their primary patients are sick and/or premature babies, or babies dealing with various forms of birth defects. These patients need to be cared for and monitored, sometimes for weeks or months, until they are hopefully healthy and developed enough to go home.

How to Become a Neonatal Nurse (5)

What I Love About Being a NICU Nurse

"As a NICU Nurse, I have always had a deep awareness of how my actions deeply touch the experiences of mothers in a very vulnerable time of their lives. I strive every day to be a light of trust, knowledge, and hope to mothers with babies in intensive care."

According to the National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN), there are approximately 40,000 low-birth-weight infants born each year in the United States. Thanks to advances in medicine, highly skilled NICU nurses, and other healthcare professionals, survival rates are improving. In fact the survival rate is now 10 times better than it was 15 years ago.

(Video) How to Become a Neonatal Nurse | What is Neonatal Nursing | NICU Nurse

How to Become a Neonatal Nurse (6)

Show Me Neonatal Nursing Programs

In addition to hands-on patient care, monitoring, and feeding of the babies, NICU nurses also work intimately with moms and dads, who are going through this emotional experience with their newborn. NICU nurses provide comfort and education to help families get through this trying time.

According to NANN, neonatal nursing generally involves care for newly-born infants in crisis, but may additionally encompass neonates who suffer from long-term problems related to being born early, or from some severe illness encountered soon after birth. Some neonatal nurses may even care for babies up to about 2 years of age. NICU nurses are not only responsible for the care of the babies but also the entire family unit. They often act as a shoulder to cry for distraught parents, assist with breastfeeding to new mothers, and provide lasting memories to new parents.

Day in the Life of a Neonatal NICU Nurse

A day in the life of a NICU nurse is demanding and can range from basic newborn care to monitoring seriously ill patients. NICU units operate 24/7, so most nurses work 12-hour shifts, which include some nights and weekends. Most large private and public hospitals have a NICU, while smaller facilities or medical centers may not have a full department or any at all.

NICU nurses will at times have more “downtime” than a typical bedside nurse. Because sleep and rest are so important to growth in the neonatal population, nurses working in the NICU will generally provide hands-on care to patients every three to four hours and monitor in between.

NICU Levels of Care

  1. Level I: Basic newborn care
  2. Level II: More advanced newborn care
  3. Level III: Neonatal ICU (Where most NICU nurses will work)
  4. Level IV: This is the most intense level of newborn care for babies born with serious birth defects. Usually found at children's hospitals, university hospitals, or destination centers.

Generally speaking, working in a NICU is considered level three nursing care (level one is care for healthy infants, and level two is for less serious neonatal cases).

NICU nurses monitor the vital signs of the more seriously ill or premature infants day and night to make sure they are breathing and developing properly. They also administer medications, record the newborn’s progress and recovery, change diapers, and calm babies in distress.

How Many Patients Does a Neonatal Nurse Work With?

Depending on the status of the patients and how many babies are born in a given period of time, NICU nurses usually work with just a few infants at a time. Typically nurses can expect to care for one or two patients at a time. If there are serious medical issues, the more experienced NICU nurses in a team might focus on just one or two cases.

Skills Needed to be a Neonatal Nurse

It does take a specialized set of skills–beyond just medical ones–to work in the NICU. It can be fast-paced, stressful, and emotional, especially when working with family members. Strong communication skills and a calm, empathetic demeanor are key. In addition, because the patients are so tiny and even the smallest error can be life-threatening, a precise attention to detail cannot be understated.

Neonatal Nurse Scope of Practice

Like other RNs, NICU nurses work under a Scope of Practice, a set of state laws that define your rights and responsibilities as a nurse, and authorize you on how to function when providing various aspects of medical care.

You can find your state’s Nurse Practice Act via the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

Listen to Nurse Tori on the Ask Nurse Alice Podcast "ALL ABOUT NICU NURSING: why Nurse Tori became a NICU nurse" now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and all podcasting platforms.

When it comes to salary ranges for nursing, a good rule of thumb is to understand how much RNs earn, and then estimate that the compensation will be slightly higher for the specialization. However, that is not true for all nursing specialties. Generally speaking, NICU nurses earn more than other nursing specialties because of the complexity and acuity of the patients.

According to ZipRecruiter, as of July 2022, the average neonatal (NICU) nurse salary is $120,317 annually or $57.84 per hour.

In New York City, for example, ZipRecruiter reports an average annual salary of $140,308, which is above the national average.

The highest paying states for NICU nurses according to ZipRecruiter are:

Highest Paying States for NICU Nurses
StateAnnual SalaryHourly Wage
New York$140,308$67.46
New Hampshire$132,557$63.73

It’s fair to say that NICU nurses–and in all areas of nursing–salary is commensurate with experience, and large cities and well-known medical institutions will pay higher salaries.

Opportunities for overtime, bonuses, and other financial perks will also vary by employer. However, in most cases, when working for a hospital or medical facility, nurses receive a generous benefits package to go along with salary.

Show Me Neonatal Nursing Programs

The job outlook for nursing professionals of all types is expected to be strong. As reported in The Atlantic, about one million registered nurses (RNs) working today (about a third of the workforce) are over the age of 50. Nearly 700,000 nurses are projected to retire or leave the labor force by 2024. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the healthcare sector has lost nearly half a million workers since February 2020. While the number doesn’t specifically identify the number of nurses that have left - an overwhelming number are bedside nurses.

As they begin retiring over the next decade, new RNs will be in demand to fill those roles; in fact, there is expected to be 1.2 million vacancies between 2014 and 2022. As such, the BLS projects that the employment of registered nurses should grow 9 percent from 2020 to 2030. Making a nursing career an excellent choice.

(Video) Neonatal Nurse Salary | NICU Nurse Salary, Job Overview, and Education Requirements

For NICU nurses specifically, that demand may even be slightly greater. Anytime specialized credentials and skills are involved, it can be more challenging to keep the talent pipeline full. In other words, nurses who go on to careers in the NICU are equipped with a skill set that will be in demand for years to come.

How to Become a Neonatal Nurse (7)

Why I Became a NICU Nurse

"For the longest time, I had a weird interest in the works of the human reproductive system. I wanted to understand it and help myself and other women thrive, specifically during the reproductive period."

Before you become a NICU nurse, you have to become a registered nurse and gain some experience. Here are the steps you need to take:

1. Become an RN

In order to become a registered nurse, you have to graduate from a program of study that is approved by your State Nursing Board, either a bachelor’s degree or associate degree program. Upon completion, you have to pass the NCLEX-RN.

2. Gain Experience

You’ll need to get two or more years of clinical experience working with neonatal patients under your belt before applying to take a certification exam for neonatal nursing. In order to eventually work in a NICU, you should aim for experience in units such as:

  • Pediatric Nursing
  • Maternal-Child Nursing
  • Well Baby Nursing
  • Labor and Delivery Nursing

3. Take a Certification Exam

Although certification isn’t necessarily required to work in a NICU, earning one will help with career advancement and qualify you for more prestigious or higher-level positions.

There are several main certifications available to NICU nurses. These include:

  • Critical care neonatal nursing certification via the American Association of Critical Care Nursing. CCRN® (Neonatal) is a specialty certification for nurses who provide direct care to acutely/critically ill neonatal patients.
  • RNC Certification for Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing (RNC-NIC) via the National Certification Corporation (NCC).
  • The National Certification Corporation offers the RNC Certification in Low Risk Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing (RNC-LRN(R)).
  • The newest certification offered by the National Certification Corporation is the Neonatal Neuro-Intensive Care (C-NNIC) certification. This certification is different in that it is not only for bedside NICU nurses but also other healthcare workers that spend the majority of their time caring for the neonatal population.
  • Lastly, the Care of the Extremely Low Birth Weight Neonate Subspecialty Certification (C-ELBW) is also offered by the National Certification Corporation. Again, not as popular as other NICU certifications, this subspecialty certification is open to all healthcare workers - not just NICU nurses.


This list is based on a number of factors including:

  • Reputation
  • NCLEX pass rate
  • Tuition
  • Acceptance rate, when available
  • Only ACEN or CCNE accredited schools are eligible

Nurse Panel

Our selection panel is made up of 3 Registered Nurses with years of experience and multiple degrees:

  • Tracy Everhart, MSN, RN, CNS
  • Tyler Faust, MSN, RN
  • Kathleen Gaines, MSN, BSN, RN, BA, CBC

There are numerous registered nursing programs and our panel of nurses ranked them based on factors mentioned in the methodology. Because individual nursing pathways and careers take various forms, the top 10 neonatal NICU nurse programs are ranked in no particular order.

1. University of Massachusetts Boston

Annual In-State Tuition: $14,677 Annual Out-of-State Tuition: $35,139

Online: No

Program Length: 4 years

The University of Massachusetts Boston, located on the water right next to the John F. Kennedy Library and Presidential Museum, offers a prime combination of excellent location and low cost for MA residents. The BSN program takes 2.5-4 years to complete (depending on whether students select direct entry or transfer in), and students get to enjoy clinicals at excellent locations across the area, including the renowned Boston Children's Hospital. This could help students gain early NICU exposure, preparing them for their future careers. Also, all NE region residents receive a discounted tuition rate, so students in the area should consider this program.

2. University of Pennsylvania

Annual Tuition: $56,212

Online: No

Program Length: 4 years

A private, Ivy League school located in Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania might have the best all-around nursing school in the nation. Students who enroll in the BSN learn important nursing skills with an emphasis placed on cultural awareness and community involvement. Those planning on becoming NICU nurses could benefit from the great clinical locations, including the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the nation's first-ever hospital devoted entirely to children. The cost of this private school is steep, but BSN students would have a hard time finding a better program.

(Video) How To Be A NICU Nurse, How I Knew I Wanted to be a NICU Nurse &How To Know If NICU Is Right For You

3. University of Washington

Quarterly In-State Tuition: $4,026 Quarterly Out-of-State Tuition: $13,302

Online: No

Program Length: 4 years

Located in Seattle, the University of Washington is one of the best schools in the state. Perhaps best known for its research degrees, UW still boasts an excellent BSN program that sees students complete over 1,000 clinical hours at sites across the region. Aspiring NICU nurses could get placed at Seattle Children's Hospital, one of the best children's hospitals in the West. Over 98% of nurses in the program graduate and UW boasts an above-average NCEX pass rate for first-time test-takers.

4. University of Colorado Denver

Annual In-State Tuition: $25,110 Annual Out-of-State Tuition: $44,100

Online: No

Program Length: 4 years

With its main campus located in downtown Denver, the University of Colorado Denver is the state's only public, urban research institution. However, students enrolled in the BSN will attend courses at CU Denver's nearby campus in Aurora. Students can choose from various BSN routes, though most students choose the traditional BSN, a two-year program that accepts students who completed two years of prerequisite courses. The program uses a cohort system, so nursing students work closely with one another. Also, the university might place students in clinicals at Children's Hospital Colorado, a top-ranked children's hospital.

5. Georgetown University

Annual Tuition: $61,872

Online: No

Program Length: 4 years

Georgetown University, located in Washington, D.C., is one of the nation's top research universities. The university also happens to be private, meaning students don't get access to discounted tuition rates. While costly, nursing students do get to earn one of the best BSN degrees in the nation. The BSN allows for direct-entry, and students begin clinicals during their first year. By the end of the program, students will have earned over 850 clinical hours at excellent sites in the area, including Children's National Hospital. Graduates of the program end up in a variety of positions, including neonatal nursing.

6. Xavier University

Annual Tuition: $42,230

Online: No

Program Length: 4 years

A Jesuit university located in Cincinnati, Xavier University is a mid-sized school with just 4,500 undergraduate students. The small size might make the nursing school more exclusive, but Xavier's 98% of graduates find a healthcare role within six months of graduating. Many graduates also end up working at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, a great place to earn NICU experience and one of Xavier's top clinical rotation sites. Xavier may have a high private school cost, but many students secure some form of financial aid.

7. University of California Los Angeles

Annual In-State Tuition: $37,129 Annual Out-of-State Tuition: $68,155

Online: No

Program Length: 4 years

Known for its great location and excellent sports, the University of California Los Angeles also has some of the top academic programs in the region, including its BSN. A great choice for anyone who wants to become a nurse in California, UCLA's BSN includes plenty of clinical experience and a clinically-based scholarly project at the end of students' fourth year. Students enjoy clinicals at great sites, including Children's Hospital Los Angeles. The early exposure to working with children and UCLA's location could help graduates secure an NICU position in California.

8. University of Pittsburgh

Annual In-State Tuition: $23,452 Annual Out-of-State Tuition: $41,508

Online: No

Program Length: 4 years

Founded in 1787, the University of Pittsburgh now teaches nearly 23,500 undergraduate students. Pitt strives to give nursing students an all-around education, requiring courses through the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences as students also take nursing courses. Students get clinical exposure during their first year through a skills lab, then get placed in rotations during their second year. Clinical sites include many of the best regional healthcare facilities, including Pitt's own UMPC Children's. Graduates could end up finding a position at UMPC Children's or other great spots in the area.


9. University of Houston

Annual In-State Tuition: $14,544.60 Annual Out-of-State Tuition: $29,784.60

Online: No

Program Length: 4 years

With over 46,000 students, the University of Houston is one of the largest on this list. However, UH's size doesn't detract from the quality of its nursing program. BSN students earn over 900 hours of clinical experience through rotations and labs, and those interested in neonatal nursing could gain experience at Texas Children's Hospital. Nursing students complete the first two years of the BSN in Houston, followed by two years at the Katy instructional site. On top of the low in-state tuition rate, students can also secure financial aid and scholarships.

10. The Ohio State University

Annual In-State Tuition: $9,351 Annual Out-of-State Tuition: $24,237

Online: No

Program Length: 4 years

The Ohio State University, a top public university located in Columbus, enrolls over 68,000 students, making it the largest school on this list. Despite the university's large size, OSU's BSN program is highly competitive, particularly for Ohio residents looking to secure in-state tuition. Graduates end up finding excellent careers, and gaining clinical experience at Columbus' Nationwide Children's Hospital could help prepare students for a career in NICU nursing. Overall, OSU offers relatively low tuition rates for a great education, making this a good pick for anyone looking to become a neonatal nurse.

Show Me Neonatal Nursing Programs

NICU nurses do not necessarily have specific requirements beyond state-mandated continuing education. However, advanced certification such as the CCRN and RNC-NIC do require specific CEUs.

All NICU nurses are required to maintain an RN license regardless of advanced certification.

Continuing education requirements for the license differ for each state. Monetary fees and other state-specific criteria are also associated with all license and certification renewals.

Examples of continuing education requirements for RNs are as follows:

  • California - 30 CEUs every two years
  • Florida - 24 CEUs every two years
  • Hawaii - 30 CEUs every two years
  • Oklahoma - 24 CEUs every two years
  • Pennsylvania - 30 CEUs every two years

A comprehensive list can be found here.

Certification CEU requirements are specific to the certification. It is important to check the certification body prior to renewal date to ensure all requirements are being met. For example, the CCRN Neonatal requires the following for recertification,

  • Completion of 100 CERPs is required, with a minimum of 60 CERPs in Category A and 10 each in Categories B and C, plus 20 in the category of your choice.
    • CERPs are a specific type of continuing education
  • Clinical practice hours are required. Practice as an RN or APRN for 432 hours in direct care of acutely/critically ill neonatal patients during the three-year certification renewal period, with 144 of those hours accrued in the 12-month period prior to the scheduled renewal date is required.

A Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Nurses and Neonatal Nurse Practitioners are similar roles, but the difference is in the education requirements and scope of practice. A Neonatal Nurse is a Registered Nurse that works in the NICU and works under the supervision of physicians and Neonatal Nurse Practitioners. Neonatal Nurse Practitioners have completed either a Master's or Doctorate level of education and become certified. For more on what a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner is and what they do, check out our Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Career Guide.

Show Me Neonatal Nursing Programs

To learn more about Neonatal and NICU nursing, take advantage of the resources provided and consider joining the following professional associations:

The more advanced your degrees and/or certifications are, the more likely you are to get the position you want as a Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse.

The best opportunities will be in large hospitals that have a full-fledged NICU department that provides both level II and level III care.

NICU nurses play perhaps one of the most important roles in our health care system in that they are there when life begins, and are often instrumental in helping high-risk newborns survive and thrive. They also act as a great source of comfort and information to the parents who spend those first few days or weeks as parents in the NICU.

For aspiring nurses who love the idea of working with infants to improve their health and get them home, NICU nursing is not only a high-demand specialization, but also a fulfilling career choice. Check out NICU nurse jobs hiring now on our job board.

*Indicates an affiliate link. At no additional cost to you, may earn a commission if you click through and use this service.

(Video) What You Need To Know Before Becoming A NICU Nurse

RN $70,000 - $90,000 Associate Bachelors Neonatal Bedside


How to Become a Neonatal Nurse? ›

To become a Neonatal Nurse, either an associate's degree in nursing or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is required. It's also required to become licensed. This can be done by passing the Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing exam.

How many years does it take to be a neonatal nurse? ›

Share this Article. It takes 4-6 years to become a NICU nurse. Neonatal nurses need a college degree and a state-issued license. Certifications can help professionals qualify for more career opportunities.

Is it hard to become a neonatal nurse? ›

You will need extensive training and education

NICU nurses need at minimum an associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing and a passing score on the NCLEX-RN exam, just as most nursing jobs require.

What is the fastest way to become a neonatal nurse? ›

Neonatal Nurse Education

Earning an ADN and passing the NCLEX-RN exam provides the quickest path to a neonatal nursing career, requiring two years or less. However, RNs with at least a BSN will find more employment opportunities and higher salaries.

Who are the highest paid nurses? ›

What is the highest-paid nurse? Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists! Earning $195,610 annually, CRNAs earn significantly more than any other type of nurse or nursing specialty.

Do neonatal nurses make 6 figures? ›

California has the highest annual NICU Nurse salary at $$97,940, which is 23% higher than the national average.

Do neonatal nurses deliver babies? ›

Since NICU nurses care for newborns, they often attend deliveries for babies that doctors believe will require a NICU stay. Upon delivery, a NICU nurse can perform some vitals and can need to transport the child to the neonatal ICU after an initial assessment.

What is the difference between a neonatal nurse and a NICU nurse? ›

The roles of neonatal nurses and NICU nurses may seem interchangeable, but they are not always the same. The job title “neonatal nurse” describes nurses who work with critically ill infants. NICU nurses work specifically in the neonatal intensive care unit.

What is the hardest part of being a neonatal nurse? ›

Emotionally Stressful

Working in a NICU is an extremely high-pressure job. The NICU nursing staff is responsible for the lives of tiny, unstable babies, and you may be required to leap into crisis mode at any moment.

Do neonatal nurses work 12-hour shifts? ›

In NICUs, nurses often work shifts that are 12 hours long. Shifts are usually 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. There are some exceptions, but these long shifts provide more consistent care for patients and patients' families. A full time NICU RN may work three, 12-hour shifts in a seven day period.

What is the lowest salary for a neonatal nurse? ›

$88,500 is the 25th percentile. Salaries below this are outliers. $135,500 is the 75th percentile.

What is the highest paying neonatal nurse? ›

While ZipRecruiter is seeing annual salaries as high as $268,500 and as low as $59,500, the majority of NICU RN salaries currently range between $86,000 (25th percentile) to $185,000 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $229,000 annually across the United States.

What are 3 things that neonatal nurses do? ›

They perform traditional nursing duties like checking vital signs and monitoring patients, performing tests on newborn babies, performing neonatal tests throughout a woman's pregnancy, and helping patients decide on an effective care plan for patients.

How many days a week do neonatal nurses work? ›

Typically, neonatal nurses work around 40 hours per week.

As NICUs and hospitals need nurse support every day, this can include weekends and holidays. For 12-hour shifts, they work 3 days a week, but those days may change weekly, monthly, or quarterly.

Do you need math to be a neonatal nurse? ›

NICU Nurses

Neonatal ICU nurses have plenty of duties to keep them busy, and many of them involve math. They are charged with monitoring the conditions of infant patients, recording any changes, and administering any medicine the baby may need.

What is the easiest nursing job that pays well? ›

Easiest Nursing Jobs Availabile
  • Nurse Educator. Average Annual Salary: $62,000. ...
  • Nurse Blogger. Average Annual Salary: N/A. ...
  • Clinic Nurse. Average Annual Salary: $65,000. ...
  • Traveling Nurse. Average Annual Salary: $70,000. ...
  • School Nurse. Average Annual Salary: $50,000. ...
  • Summer Camp Nurse. ...
  • Nurse Administrator. ...
  • Public Health Nurse.
Aug 31, 2022

What type of nurse is most in demand? ›

BSN-prepared nurses are the most sought-after RNs in the job market and can advance to leadership and management roles more quickly than the ASN nurse.
2. Registered nurse (RN)
EducationASN (required) or BSN (recommended)
CertificationsMust pass the NCLEX-RN exam
1 more row

Do most nurses make 6 figures? ›

Can Nurses Make Six Figures? Yes, you can 100% make six figures as a nurse. The disclaimer is that working in some states may make this easier than working in other states. Geographic location is a huge indicator of starting salary and can be a reason why some of you are not as close to others when looking at raw data.

Is a neonatal nurse a stressful job? ›

Neonatal nurses must control their emotional responses to stress to make sound decisions and maintain a high degree of professionalism when dealing with parents and hospital team members. Parents of critically ill infants are often demanding and desperate; neonatal nurses must learn to handle difficult situations.

Which state pays neonatal nurses the most? ›

According to them, the highest paying state for neonatal nurses is New York, with an annual salary of $108,499, and the lowest paying state is North Carolina, with a yearly wage of $78,345.

What is the easiest floor to work on as a nurse? ›

Many will argue that med-surg work is the heart of nursing and provides new grads with the foundational skills they will need to move on to other specialties later, if they so choose. And frankly, the easiest and fastest way to get a job as a new grad is to go to a med/surg floor.

What are the disadvantages of being a neonatal nurse? ›

  • Long Shifts. Many hospitals work on a 12-hour schedule, which while extremely beneficial for patient care, can be difficult for the staff. This can also be difficult for staff who have families, as they may go days without seeing them.
  • Emotional Burnout. Neonatal nurses can deal with a lot of tragedies with babies.
Mar 12, 2023

What does a neonatal nurse fall under? ›

Neonatal nursing is a subspecialty of nursing that works with newborn infants born with a variety of problems ranging from prematurity, birth defects, infection, cardiac malformations, and surgical problems. The neonatal period is defined as the first month of life; however, these newborns are often sick for months.

What nurses do after baby born? ›

The Neonatal Nurse's job requires them to feed, observe, monitor, and care for sick newborns for weeks, or even months, helping the babies recover and get stronger. A Neonatal Nurse will care for the infant from birth to when they can finally go home as healthy babies.

How long does it take to become a neonatal nurse practitioner? ›

How long does it take to become an NNP? It takes at least six years to become an NNP, including six years of education (BSN and MSN), plus the two years of RN experience typically required for admission to an MSN program.

Why should I become a neonatal nurse? ›

Some of the top neonatal nurse benefits include:

Giving babies a chance at survival. Supporting families during the most difficult time in their lives. Teaching parents how to care for their infant both in and out of the NICU. Advancement opportunities within the hospital.

What is the stress level of a neonatal nurse? ›

The mean (SD) perceived stress level was 22.19(7.18) [Range: 3 to 39]. Most of the nurses [61(47.3 %)] were identified as perceiving moderate stress while 38(29.5 %) perceived mild stress and 30(23.2 %) perceived high stress.

What is the lowest nursing position? ›

As the name suggests, CNAs assist nurses with patient admittance and vitals. It is the lowest-level credential related to the nursing field and the quickest point of entry.

What is the hardest nursing class to take? ›

Hardest Nursing School Classes
  • Pathophysiology. In this course, students learn how different anatomical systems work and how diseases or injuries affect these systems. ...
  • Pharmacology. ...
  • Medical Surgical 1 (also known as Adult Health 1) ...
  • Evidence-Based Practice.

What is the hardest type of nurse to be? ›

Most Stressful Nursing Positions
  • Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurses. ICU is an extremely high-pressure environment and these nurses work with patients who have significant injuries and disease with added morbidity risks. ...
  • Emergency Department nurses. ...
  • Neonatal ICU. ...
  • OR nursing. ...
  • Oncology Nursing. ...
  • Psychiatric Nursing.
Jan 27, 2021

What is the shortest shift a nurse can work? ›

Nurses can work 8, 10, or 12 hour-shifts. They can work the traditional Monday-Friday 9-5 pm shifts with weekends off or various times throughout the week while rotating the weekends. Many nurses work days, nights, or just weekends.

What is the longest shift a nurse can work? ›

In most cases, hospitals will not allow nurses to work more than 16 hours in a row. Clinic nurses (private practice) typically will not work more than 8 hours per day. Scheduled shifts are typically either 8, 10, or 12 hours in duration and may not follow the typical pattern of the day, evening, or night shifts.

What is the longest shift in nursing? ›

The max number of hours a nurse can work in a row is usually 16 hours. Though many facilities will limit nurses to working no more than 12 hours straight.

What is a Level 1 Neonatal Nurse? ›

Sometimes known as newborn nurseries, Level I (one) NICUs provide basic care for preterm infants (babies born before 37 weeks of pregnancy). These NICUs provide routine care for healthy preterm babies.

What is the lowest paid labor and delivery nurse? ›

What Is The Salary Per Hour Of A Labor and Delivery Nurse?
Hourly Labor & Delivery Nurse Salary
Level of ExperienceHourly Earnings
Starting (Entry-Level)$21.56
1-4 Years of Experience$24.88
5-9 Years of Experience$30.40
3 more rows

What is neonatology the study of? ›

Neonatologists — The Best Care For Newborns

Important organs such as the heart, lungs, stomach, and skin may not be mature enough to function without special help. Neonatologists have the special training required to evaluate and treat newborns' medical problems.

What is the highest nurse salary per month? ›

Average starting Salary for Nurse in India is around ₹0.2 Lakh per year (₹1.7k per month). No prior experience is required to be a Nurse. What is the highest salary for a Nurse in India? Highest salary that a Nurse can earn is ₹5.0 Lakhs per year (₹41.7k per month).

What is a kids nurse called? ›

Pediatric nurses are registered nurses who specialize in caring for patients from birth through adolescence. They must have a deep knowledge of child growth and development as diseases and conditions in children often present and are treated differently than in adults.

What skills are required to become a NICU nurse? ›

7 NICU nurse skills to master
Jun 25, 2020

Do NICU nurses do surgery? ›

NICU nurses within these nurseries may also help perform surgeries on newborns, such as heart surgeries for newborns with congenital heart disease. NICU nurses also commonly interact with their patients' families to provide updates on the baby's current condition.

What is the burnout rate for NICU nurses? ›

Burnout affects 25% to 50% of NICU providers,1,5 with up to one-half of nurses and physicians meeting criteria for severe burnout in all specialties.

Are there different types of neonatal nurses? ›

Neonatal nurses also benefit from many career advancement opportunities, including as nurse practitioners. If you're interested in neonatal or pediatric nursing, consider the many neonatal nurse specialties. Some neonatal nurses work in intensive care settings, while others provide advanced care.

How many years of college do you need to be a neonatal nurse? ›

Share this Article. It takes 4-6 years to become a NICU nurse. Neonatal nurses need a college degree and a state-issued license. Certifications can help professionals qualify for more career opportunities.

What GPA do you need to become a neonatal nurse? ›

A minimum of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from an accredited institution. GPAs of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) - Rush will receive GPA calculations from NursingCAS only after they have received all of your official transcripts.

Can I be a nurse if I dont know math? ›

Nursing Program Math Requirements

Completion of two to three years of high school math is the prerequisite for admission to a nursing program at most colleges. However, some of the most competitive nursing programs prefer four years of high school math for Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs.

Do neonatal nurses go to med school? ›

To become a Neonatal Nurse, either an associate's degree in nursing or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is required. It's also required to become licensed. This can be done by passing the Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing exam.

Is a neonatal nurse a RN? ›

An associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) can qualify an RN to work as a neonatal nurse, but some employers prefer the BSN. A certified critical care RN for neonates (CCRN Neonatal) credential is recommended but not mandatory.

How many hours do neonatal nurses work a day? ›

Day in the Life of a Neonatal NICU Nurse

A day in the life of a NICU nurse is demanding and can range from basic newborn care to monitoring seriously ill patients. NICU units operate 24/7, so most nurses work 12-hour shifts, which include some nights and weekends.

What is a newborns nurse called? ›

2. Neonatal nurses. Job description: Neonatal nurses are typically the next specialized group to enter the picture of infant care after labor and delivery nurses. This type of nurse specializes in the care of newborn infants.

What are baby nurses called? ›

Neonatal Registered Nurse

The Neonatal Nurse's job requires them to feed, observe, monitor, and care for sick newborns for weeks, or even months, helping the babies recover and get stronger. A Neonatal Nurse will care for the infant from birth to when they can finally go home as healthy babies.

What is the hardest job in nursing? ›

The most stressful nursing jobs include ICU nurse, ER nurse, and NICU nurse. In these roles, nurses work in an intense environment with high stakes. They manage emergency situations and care for critically ill patients. Other stressful nursing jobs include OR nursing, oncology nursing, and psychiatric nursing.

What is the hardest thing being a nurse? ›

Here are some of the challenges nurses face in their profession:
  1. Long shifts. Nurses often work 10- or 12-hour shifts. ...
  2. Changing schedules. ...
  3. Emotional involvement. ...
  4. Physical demands. ...
  5. Exposure to illness and chemicals. ...
  6. Lack of nurses. ...
  7. Changing technology. ...
  8. Poor treatment from patients.
Mar 10, 2023

What is the least stressful job as an RN? ›

The 10 Least Stressful Nursing Jobs This Year (2022)
  • Nurse Educators. ...
  • Institutional Nurses. ...
  • Research Nurses. ...
  • Public Health Nurses. ...
  • Occupational Health Nurses. ...
  • Case Management Nurses. ...
  • Home Health Nurses. ...
  • Clinic Nurses.
Jul 6, 2022


1. How I Became a NICU Nurse as a New Grad/With No Experience!
(Leighton Sanders)
3. Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming A NICU Nurse. Advice For New NICU Nurses
(Tiffany Nguyen, RN)
4. How to Become a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Nurse
5. How I Got A Job As A NICU Nurse With No Experience
(The Nurse Nook)
6. How To Become A Neonatal Nurse (NICU)


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