If you're in nursing school and considering a specialty in neonatal nursing, you may have a bright future. There are plenty of reasons to love neonatal nursing. It's physically easier than most nursing jobs, since your patients are tiny and don't weigh very much. It can be very fulfilling work, and it's lucrative too – NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) nurses can earn more than $60,000 a year, and neonatal nurse practitioners can earn over $90,000 a year. And of course, you get to work with babies every day. But not everyone is cut out for neonatal nursing. Take a look at some traits you have to have if you're going to make it as a neonatal nurse.
Good Communication Skills
Sure, the babies that you picture yourself spending most of your time with won't understand you when you talk, but good communication skills are still vital for a neonatal nurse. That's because it will be your job to relay information about the babies in your care to their parents.
Like any new parents, the parents of your patients will be sleep deprived, anxious, and in the case of the mothers, at least, possibly in pain or dealing with medical complications of their own. And many of them won't have a medical background. It will be your responsibility to relay information about their child's condition and care in language that they can understand. That can be more challenging than you might think.
A Good Eye For Detail
When you're dealing with tiny babies, you have to be alert for equally tiny symptoms. Remember, your patients won't be able to tell you what feels wrong. Because their bodies are so small, it doesn't take very long for a small symptom to become a big problem.
For example, a newborn can become dehydrated rapidly, and if you miss the signs of dehydration – like too many hours without a wet diaper, or crying with no tears – the situation can become life-threatening. Keen observational skills are a must for neonatal nurses.
Neonatal nurses work with perfectly healthy babies and also very sick babies. And as much fun as it can be to spend your day with healthy, full-term babies, caring for a sick or premature baby can be emotionally draining.
All medical personnel are taught not to get too emotionally involved with their patients, but it's hard to shut out the protective maternal or paternal feelings that many people have when they're around very small children and babies. You may find it difficult to stay professional and detached, especially when you lose a patient. Be honest with yourself about whether or not you're up for the emotional ups and downs that come with working in a neonatal unit.
Neonatal nurses are always in demand. There will always be more babies being born, and because babies are surviving at younger and younger gestational ages, the need for NICU nurses is on the rise. If you feel you have what it takes to be a neonatal nurse, you have a rewarding career ahead of you.
For more information, contact Kidz Medical Services or a similar organization.Share
13 June 2016
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