Up Close With the Patients
Neonatal nursing has been around for decades, and the occupation is becoming more and more recognized by the general public. Neonatal nursing involves providing intensive care to newborn infants delivered with illness, and this usually extends for 28 days or until the child is well enough to be brought home. Premature infants often experience both minor and severe complications, and neonatal nurses are expected to specialize in caring for them. More often than not, neonatal nurses care for such patients in Neonatal Intensive Care Units or NICUs, wherein infants are placed in a highly secured and guarded environment.
Other than intensively caring for newborns, neonatal nurses are also expected to work closely with the infant’s parents in making sure that both the infant and the mother recover safely from the complications they incur – physically and emotionally. Having to give birth before the expected due date worries parents a lot, especially if the delivery turns out to be of high risk. Developing harmonious relationships with the parents before, during, and after the delivery is important, as this makes it easier to provide proper assurance and advice to ease their worries.
Being a Neonatal Nurse
There are a number of things that are required of those aspiring to become neonatal nurses. First, one should have great and lasting affinity for infants, particularly newborn ones. There are some people who are innately adept at dealing with infants, while some only become interested once they have a child of their own. If you think you are able to deal with tiny patients with the utmost care, then the neonatal unit is the place for you. Second, it is important for a neonatal nurse to know how to relate with parents in the most gentle and understanding manner. Communicating with people is one thing, but stepping into their shoes to somehow feel their plight is another. Dealing with parents whose infants are in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) can be extremely difficult, but empathizing with them gets half of the job done. Third, one should be able to cope with the demands of the unit. The environment is fast-paced, technical, and highly competitive given the conditions being dealt with by the staff.
What it Would Take
Technically, becoming a neonatal nurse requires an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, although a bachelor’s degree would get one farther in the field. Those who wish to get into more advanced neonatal care would more likely get a position as a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner or NNP, and this would require a master’s degree, which can be obtained by those who hold a bachelor’s degree. Prospective students who desire to work in the field of neonatal care research can do so by obtaining such higher level degrees. Those currently holding degrees in nursing can take on courses which will allow them to specialize in neonatal care.
Getting Ahead of the Game
Contrary to what most people think, being a neonatal nurse, or a nurse in general, actually offers career advancement. Instead of settling on a staff-level position, one could pursue higher leadership and managerial positions through which administrative roles can be assumed. More than just leadership skills, such posts require time management, effective communication, and task delegation skills. Again, the environment requires a highly competitive, efficient, and responsive team, and only an effective administrator can piece everything together. Working closely with the team as an administrator, it also goes that the job entails training and mentorship for staff nurses.
Working as a neonatal nurse normally requires 10-12 hours a day, although some clinics and hospitals offer adjustable work hours. Wage ranges vary depending on the complexity and intensity of the tasks assigned, and as well as how skilled and effective the nurse is. The number of infants assigned per nurse also varies, depending on the gravity of the condition of each one. It is always important to maintain the intensiveness of care being provided by each staff member.
Above Everything Else…
If you are interested in infants, the job would definitely grant you high levels of satisfaction. Just imagine the number of infants you will be able to send home because of the intensive care provided to them by you and your co-workers. Watching the infants develop from the time they are delivered until they reach their mother’s arms would give you a sense of fulfillment which not many jobs can offer.
The demand for neonatal nurses is facing a boom, and should render it easier to find openings. Of course, closing a deal with an institution is another story. You need to satisfy more than the basic and general requirements to work in a NICU, and it all depends on how much you want the job and the amount of care you are willing to give to the infants who are in dire need of it. So if you are seeking to work in a highly fulfilling yet competitive setting, working as a neonatal nurse would be a good choice, provided that you are more than glad and willing to provide tender care for bundles of joy every single day of your medical life.