Are you mentally conducting a well-baby check every time you meet a friend’s newborn? Do you secretly smell a baby’s head each time you hold one? Or maybe you’re known as the baby hog at your family gatherings.
If this sounds like you, then you may be a neonatal nurse at heart.
Neonatal nursing is an incredibly rewarding profession — but it’s not for everyone.
If you’re considering making the switch to the neonatal ward, this guide shares the requirements and benefits of being a neonatal nurse.
Table of Contents
- All About Being a Neonatal Nurse
- What Are the Benefits of Being a Neonatal Nurse?
- Are There Any Downsides to Neonatal Nursing?
- Travel Neonatal Nurse Benefits
- Interested In Taking Your Neonatal Nursing Career on the Road? Trusted Nurse Staffing Can Help You Find Travel Neonatal Nurse Contracts Today
All About Being a Neonatal Nurse
Around 380,000 preterm babies are born every year in the United States, making neonatal nurses incredibly important and in demand.
As a neonatal nurse, you can expect to work in a hospital setting with as many as four infants at a time, though this ratio may depend on how ill your tiny patients are. Or you may end up working in the community as a home-care nurse for high-risk infants.
Neonatal nurses work regular 12-hour shifts, for the most part, and critical care is provided around the clock — weekends and holidays included.
Being a neonatal nurse is akin to being the voice of a patient who doesn’t have one. You’re the daily advocate, supporter, and caregiver of the hospital’s tiniest residents.
What Is a Neonatal Nurse?
Neonatal nurses care for newborn infants that may have any number of problems, such as:
- Premature birth
- Cardiac malformations
- Birth defects
- Drug addiction and withdrawal
- Surgical problems; and
Neonatal is usually defined as the first month of life, but in the neonatal ward, babies can stay sick for months — and in some cases, up to two years. Neonatal nurses care for infants from the time they are born until they’re healthy enough to be discharged.
What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Neonatal Nurse?
After achieving a formal nursing education, either through an associate’s degree or a bachelor of science in nursing, you may want to consider getting a master’s or doctoral degree. To work in advanced practice nursing, this will be required.
Once you’ve become a registered nurse, try finding work in a hospital with a NICU. If you’re not hired into the NICU right away, some experience in a pediatric or wellborn nursery might help. However, if the demand is there, many hospitals will hire new graduates who show a strong interest in the NICU.
Nurses wishing to become a travel neonatal nurse will require at least one year of experience in an acute care facility or the NICU.
If you’re interested in learning more about neonatal travel nursing, visit our Pronto app and search available neonatal travel nurse jobs available now.
Alternatively, you can contact Trusted Nurse Staffing and speak to one of our recruiters. Our team is always available to answer any questions you might have about the benefits of being a neonatal nurse on the road!
What Are the Benefits of Being a Neonatal Nurse?
As a neonatal nurse, it’s your job to ensure that the infants in the NICU are comfortable, cared for, and have the best chance at overcoming huge obstacles. That’s a big job! But it’s also an incredibly rewarding one.
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
- One of the most competitive nursing salaries
6 Neonatal Nurse Benefits To Consider When Choosing a Nursing Specialty
#1: You Are Giving Babies Their Best Chance at Survival
Neonatal nurses are basically superheroes.
An infant born into the NICU, for whatever reason, is facing serious complications and possibly life-threatening issues. Without neonatal nurses to care for them, the outlook would be bleak.
However, because of medical advancements and the care of the NICU team, survival rates are improving substantially.
#2: You Are a Trusted Support System for Baby’s Family
Having a baby in the NICU is scary, and often parents spend months making daily visits and even staying the night. Through this time, parents may experience feelings of guilt and anxiety and even suffer from depression.
Neonatal nurses have the opportunity to form close bonds with the baby’s family, ensuring that they know their baby is well cared for and they have a support system they can rely on.
Often, these relationships last well past the infant’s discharge from the hospital.
#3: You Can Teach Parents Specialized Care Skills
As NICU babies make advancements in their health, the time grows nearer for families to take their babies home. This can be a scary transition for parents as the baby will no longer have 24/7 care from skilled and trained NICU staff members.
In addition to building lasting relationships, neonatal nurses teach parents any special skills they may need to care for their baby at home. Equipped with these very important skills, parents can take their baby home feeling confident that everything will be okay.
#4: There Are Many Advancement Opportunities
Neonatal nurses are entering a growing field.
In the last decade, the demand for NICU nurses has grown substantially. From 2019 to 2029, it’s expected that nearly 176,000 neonatal nurses will be required to keep up with the demand.
Staff nurses have the opportunity to grow or train in particular roles, such as:
- Nurse managers
- Clinical nurse specialists
- Developmental care specialists
- Neonatal nurse practitioners
You may also choose to take a certification test after a certain amount of time working with neonates. Certification will equip you to be part of a transport team or work with a team that provides transplants for critically ill infants.
#5: The Work Is Rewarding
Let’s get back to the superhero thing for a minute. What better fulfillment could one need or want than to save the life of an infant?
NICU babies are possibly the most vulnerable people in our society and they require round-the-clock care, love, and expertise. Neonatal nurses provide all that and more.
#6: The Pay Is Competitive
Neonatal nurses can earn a substantially higher salary than other nursing concentrations. The average starting salary for a neonatal RN is $79,000 per year, whereas a neonatal nurse practitioner can earn a starting salary of $93,000 per year.
Are There Any Downsides to Neonatal Nursing?
Neonatal nursing, like any other medical specialty, has its own set of challenges and potential downsides. It’s essential to be aware of the pros and cons of neonatal nursing if you’re considering the profession.
Some of the downsides include:
- Emotional stress: Neonatal nurses often work with critically ill and premature infants, and sometimes, despite their best efforts, not all babies can be saved. Witnessing the suffering of infants and their families can be emotionally challenging.
- Emotional attachment: Building relationships with patients and their families can be rewarding, but it can also be emotionally challenging when patients have poor outcomes or require long-term care.
- Ethical dilemmas: Neonatal nurses may face ethical dilemmas, such as deciding whether to continue aggressive treatment for extremely premature infants with uncertain outcomes.
- Education and training: Becoming a neonatal nurse typically requires specialized education and training, which can be time-consuming and costly. With Trusted Staff Nursing, CEUs may be reimbursed, making it easier to switch nursing fields at any time.
Despite these potential downsides, many individuals find neonatal nursing to be a deeply rewarding and fulfilling career. The joy of helping save the lives of vulnerable infants and providing support to their families can outweigh the challenges for those who are passionate about this field.
Always consider your personal strengths and values when deciding whether neonatal nursing is the right career choice for you. It may be wise to seek support and implement self-care strategies to help mitigate some of the stressors associated with this profession.
Travel Neonatal Nurse Benefits
The demand for neonatal nurses is high, making travel neonatal nurses one of the most sought-after groups by hospitals across the country.
As a travel neonatal nurse, you’ll enjoy benefits such as:
- Traveling to new locations
- Making friends all over the country
- A higher-than-average salary
- Housing, food, and travel stipends
- More time off
- Control over your schedule
- And much more
If becoming a travel neonatal nurse interests you, let us know and we can help.
What Does a Travel Neonatal Nurse Earn?
Travel nurses typically earn higher salaries than staff nurses due to the temporary nature of their positions and the need for specialized skills.
Here are some factors that may affect your pay rate as a travel neonatal nurse:
- Travel nurse agency
- Specialty certifications
- Shift differentials
- Tax benefits
Travel neonatal nurses can earn as much as $205,500 per year, which is substantially higher than a staff nurse.
In addition to a higher earning potential, travel neonatal nurses also get to explore different parts of the country, gain valuable experience, and expand their professional network.
Where Do Travel Neonatal Nurses Work?
One of the advantages of being a travel neonatal nurse is the flexibility to work in various healthcare settings across the United States and potentially internationally, depending on your preferences and qualifications.
Here are some of the places where travel neonatal nurses may work:
- Children’s hospitals
- Level III or Level IV NICUs
- Maternal-Fetal medicine clinics
- Transport teams
- Rehabilitation centers
- Home health care
As a travel nurse, you can choose your assignments based on your preferences, career goals, and desired locations.
Being adaptable and prepared to work in different healthcare settings is an asset as a travel nurse. Every assignment comes with unique challenges and patient populations, making it an exciting career choice if you thrive in changing environments.
Interested In Taking Your Neonatal Nursing Career on the Road? Trusted Nurse Staffing Can Help You Find Travel Neonatal Nurse Contracts Today
Trusted Nurse Staffing will help you find temporary neonatal nursing positions that give you travel opportunities and work flexibility.
Our team is reliable and experienced, and we work with partners across the country to fill positions in every clinical setting — including the NICU.
In addition to the benefits of being a neonatal nurse, you can count on Trusted Nurse staffing for perks, such as:
- Highest pay rates in the industry
- Contract length flexibility
- Customized benefits packages
- Wellness benefits
- A loyalty program
- Sign-on and completion bonuses
- Housing, travel, and meal stipends
- Health, dental, and vision insurance
- And much more
It’s in the name! Work with an agency you can trust — Trusted Nurse Staffing. Visit Pronto today and search for neonatal travel nursing jobs in your desired area.