About the NICU Nurse
The NICU nurses have a career that is always intensely challenging, usually richly rewarding, and occasionally truly heartbreaking. They care for the smallest and most vulnerable patients in the world, and they often appear to work miracles.Nurseries that care for babies are divided into four categories. A level one nursery cares for healthy, full-term newborn babies. These nurseries are not equipped to handle babies who are sick or premature. A level two nursery can handle slightly premature babies of over 32 weeks gestation, but not babies who need advanced medical care. A level three nursery is categorized as a NICU and can take care of infants who are born at less than 32 weeks gestation or who have serious medical conditions. The level four NICU is for those babies with the most serious and life-threatening conditions. The NICU nurses usually work in both level three and level four NICUs.
How to Become an NICU Nurse
Those who want to become NICU nurses must first become RNs through an accredited nursing program, which means they must have their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. They will also need to be certified in neonatal resuscitation and in Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing. Most hospitals require nurses to have several years of clinical experience working with babies before they are allowed to work in the NICU.
NICU Nursing Duties
NICU nurses perform a wide variety of tasks related to the care of their tiny patients. They must work closely with various doctors and neonatal specialists, ensuring clear communication is maintained and all aspects of a baby’s care are encompassed in the care plan. They must educate parents on the status of their baby, as well as the care that baby will need when he/she is finally allowed to go home. They must be detail-oriented and good at multi-tasking, so that no tiny detail of a baby’s care is overlooked.