NICU nurses: Would you classify your job as depressing or rewarding?

Everyone in my family says I should be a NICU nurse. I adore babies and I love nursing people back to health. But I'm afraid of it being way too depressing that I couldn't handle it. Also, how did you get to where you are? I'm a SAHM with only a high school diploma....What schooling would I need?

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  • 8 years ago
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    I don't work in NICU, but I work with the moms who end up having their babies go to NICU - I work in high-risk obstetrics. I am present when these women deliver their sick or premature babies. I am there when they deliver their stillborn baby.

    The good days far outweigh the bad ones. More babies are saved by the work you do than are lost despite of it. And even in those horrible, grief-filled days, personally, I find a certain kind of spiritual satisfaction. Those are holy, sacred moments for these families when their babies pass away, and I am acutely aware of how my presence and actions and words will make a direct impact on how they handle this life-altering event. To be so intimately connected with a family as they lose a child, to bring them even some small moment of peace and comfort, there are their own rewards. When you give good care, the patients recognize it. They are appreciative of it. I still get letters and notes from former patients from years ago who stay in touch and continue to express their gratitude for the role I played during that time in their lives. I don't do it for the accolades, I do it because someone has to, because I need to have a job where I know with certainty that my work *matters* and is important.

    So when we have a poor outcome or a loss of a baby, I go home, I hug my kids and thank god every day that I have healthy children, and I then I cry it out. And then I go back to work the next day. And I help save more babies lives.

    You need to be a Registered Nurse to work in NICU. That's a minimum of an Associates Degree in Nursing, but to stand a much better chance at getting into a critical care unit at a hospital you really would want to get your Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN). You could do the ADN first, and do an RN to BSN "bridge" program soon after. The ADN might get you to work about a year faster, and you might find an employer who will offer tuition assistance as a benefit, so you get your BSN completion paid for (this is what I did).

    To start researching RN programs, google search your state board of nursing's website. They will have an "education" page set up which lists all the approved nursing programs in your state. From there, start doing good research on the admissions requirements for these programs. Almost all programs will require the same prerequisite courses in biology, chemistry, and anatomy & physiology (all with labs), but from there, the application process might vary. You'll also want to ask an admissions rep how many students apply to the program vs. how many are accepted, what's the average GPA of admitted students, is there a wait list and if so does it guarantee admission the following semester, etc. Nursing programs are all very competitive for admission, so know the process, keep a high GPA, and complete as many of your non-nursing courses (general ed/liberal arts) courses ahead of time as you can so once you start the nursing courses you only have to focus on them. They are challenging, but doesn't take a rocket scientist to get through, just dedication to studying. Once you graduate you are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam, and when you pass you get your nursing license.

    It's hard right now in this economy for many new grads to find work, esp. in hospitals. You will *almost* certainly NOT be hired into NICU as a new grad. You might have to take a job that's less than perfect, just to get your foot in the door somewhere and get some work experience. Consider it an extension of your education, it's a process to get to where you want to end up. But if you don't give up, you will get there. Best of luck to you.

    Source(s): RN
  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    Hi,

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