What Does a NICU Nurse Do?

Neonatal nursing can be described as specialty in the nursing field that focuses on the care of premature and ill newborn babies. They care for infants that can be born early, or have illnesses, diseases, or issues that require intensive care, and are normally found in the Neonatal Intensive Care unit.

Many healthcare institutions, that include hospitals, have different standards for employing neonatal nurses. Many, if not all, require that a neonatal nurse must first be a registered nurse (RN), therefore possessing a registered nurse license.

Just after being employed into the neonatal intensive care unit, nurses will have to go through an internship that could last a varying length of time, averaging out at around ninety days, to be able to adjust the nurse to specific neonatal nursing. Particular neonatal nursing accreditations also need to be obtained, within a specific amount of time from the date of employment.

A registered nurse specializing in neonatal nursing can expect his or her jobs to include the care for premature babies, sick newborn babies, going to high-risk deliveries, as well as assisting in minor and major surgical procedures. They also are supporters to the fathers and mothers of the infant, helping them deal and get used to having a baby in the neonatal intensive care unit/NICU. This will likely incorporate emotional support, breastfeeding a baby help, and training on the care of neonatal newborn babies during and after the hospital stay.

Staff work quite closely with their fellow nurses, as well as other staff that also includes: neonatologists, neonatal healthcare professionals, pediatricians, and various other maternal hospital workers. Additional staff might include respiratory therapists, speech and physical therapists, and even social workers.

This particular nursing field is in popular demand, and neonatal staff are needed across the nation. Since this kind of nursing is so specific, most adult and pediatric nurses are unable to work in the neonatal intensive care unit/NICU. As a result, neonatal nurses are extremely sought-after, and may earn extremely competitive pay. Also, a NICU RN who travels may earn even more money, as pay rates for traveling RNs can be quite high.

NICU nurses have to finish a four-year bachelor's degree in nursing, or a two-year associate's education. Neonatal nurses may be required to keep up with certain education and certification requirements to continue working in the NICU. Luckily, there are many resources available in this profession, including many provided by the hospitals or medical facilities themselves.

Job opportunities are never scarce, though night shift employment is more readily available than day shift opportunities. If you are interested in taking care of sick and premature babies, then this career path is definitely for you. This job requires critical thinking, quick assessment skills, and the ability to work with babies and their families alike. You are as much of a nurse to the infants in your care as you are an advocate for the parents of the child with whom they are entrusting into your care.

Baby Care - Newborn Baby Out in Public - Wait and Protect Your Infant Baby From Illness

Many new parents have misconceptions of when they can safely take their newborn infant out in public. It is a commonly held belief that once the infant has received their first set of shots that they are protected and can go out in public. Unfortunately, this is not true.

Infants are born with an immune system that is inexperienced to illness. Their system relies on immunity from their mother for the first 4-6 months of life but only if the infant was born after 36-37 weeks. This kind of immunity is called "passive placental immunity" and helps the infant to only fight illness that the mother has developed immunity to such as a recent cold or chicken pox. Infants that are breast fed receive additional immunity from their mother's milk that continues as long as breast feeding is continued. Even in a perfect world, an infant can become sick from being exposed to someone who is ill. A bad cold for an adult or young child is a bad cold...but this could result in a serious infection for an infant that requires hospitalization.

Infants receive their first set of vaccines at age 2 months. The severe diseases they are immunized against include diptheria, pertussis, tetanus, haemophyllis influenza B, pneumococcus, polio, hepatitis B and rotovirus. These are only some of the illness that infants can contract but are among the most severe. Other illnesses, both bacterial and viral, can cause several illness in infants. One example is bronchiolitis that is caused by a respiratory virus that attacks the lower respiratory tract in infants causing severe asthma-like symptoms. Hospitalization may be required to help the infant breathe properly and to get enough oxygen. So having immunizations is not the answer to keeping your infant completely healthy.

Protecting your infant from illness should be a high priority for new parents. Here are several tips for preventing illness:

* limit visitors & only to those that are not sick
* prevent children from touching the baby & definitely do not allow them near the baby if they are coughing or sneezing
* do not allow too many people to hold the baby
* do not take your infant out in public places where there could be a lot of people
* it is ok to take your baby for a car ride or out in the stroller for a walk
* wash your hands with antibacterial soap & ask visitors to do the same
* breastfeed your baby to provide them with passive immunity
* if you have another child who is sick, ask family members to take them for you or isolate mother and baby in the bedroom and have dad take care of the sick child

Do not be persuaded by assertive relatives and friends to be near your infant if they are sick. Remember, you are the ones that will have to deal with a sick baby and possible hospitalization.