Neonatal intensive care nurses are registered nurses who specialize in caring for newborn infants with serious health issues, including premature birth, infections, birth defects, heart anomalies, and other problems. NICU nurses monitor and care for premature or sick babies for weeks or even months, until they’re healthy enough to go home. They also support scared parents throughout the traumatic experience of birthing and caring for a premature or critically ill newborn.
Dedicated NICU nurses care for the most vulnerable patients and have a huge impact on the lives of the neonates and their parents, making it a highly rewarding career choice. Due to their efforts and advanced medical technology, neonate survival rates are 10 times higher than they were 15 years ago, putting experienced NICU nurses in high demand.
Neonatal Intensive Care nurse salary
According to PayScale, staff NICU registered nurses earn $65,992 annually. This amount breaks down to about $1,269 weekly and $31.73 hourly in a 40-hour work week.
Vivian data indicated that NICU travel nurses earned an average weekly gross salary of $2,030 in 2019, which included additional compensations for housing, meals, and other incidentals. These stipends are tax free, but only available to nurses who can claim a permanent tax home.
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NICU Nurse FAQs
What are the best agencies for NICU Nurse jobs?
The agencies on Vivian that currently have the most NICU Nurse jobs are Stability Healthcare (201), Advantis Medical (147), and Lead Healthstaff (117).
How Much Do NICU Nurse Jobs Pay?
For jobs available on Vivian as of Tuesday, November 30th 2021, the average weekly salary for a Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse is $3,113, but can pay up to $7,140 per week.
- min - $1,409
- avg - $3,113
- max - $7,140
What does a Neonatal Intensive Care nurse do?
NICU nurses provide complex, hands-on care to critically ill newborns to ensure they’re breathing, their critical functions are preserved, and are developing properly. They’re directly responsible for monitoring their vitals, administering food and medications, and providing all aspects of care and comfort. NICU nurses utilize the latest technology for babies that require intravenous feeding or ventilators to assist with breathing. They also work closely with parents, providing comfort and educating them about their baby’s condition and how to care for them when they’re finally discharged.
Where do Neonatal Intensive Care nurses work?
NICU nurses work in children’s hospitals, medical centers and public and private hospitals that have an NICU. Within the NICU, they typically work in LEVEL III nurseries with newborns who require medical and technological interventions not available in Level I or Level II nurseries, such as prolonged continuous ventilation. They may also work in Level IV nurseries with infants needing LEVEL III care, plus surgical repair of serious congenital or acquired anomalies. Some NICU nurses work for home health agencies, providing follow-up care for high-risk babies at their homes, or for medical transportation and evacuation services.
What skills make a good Neonatal Intensive Care nurse?
NICU nursing requires a specialized set of skills to work effectively in this emotional, often stressful environment, and to catch and combat any complications that might arise suddenly. NICU nurses must possess good intuition and a keen sense of attention to detail to catch the subtlest behavioral changes in these tiny patients who can’t verbally communicate what’s wrong. The ability to detect the smallest fluctuations in body temperature, respiration rates, cardiac rhythm, or stimuli response is critical to serve as early indicators of good or bad changes in a baby’s condition. NICU nurses must continually stay alert and mentally agile throughout every shift to ensure good outcomes. Other key skills include strong communication skills, compassion and empathy to soothe parents during highly emotional situations, and meticulous documentation to record an infant’s progress and recovery.
How to become a Neonatal Intensive Care Travel Nurse?
To become a travel NICU nurse, applicants must earn at least an Associate Degree in Nursing, but many employers prefer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Graduates must pass the NCLEX-RN exam and complete all state licensing requirements to become an RN. Certifications in Basic Life Support, Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support and Pediatric Advanced Life Support are customary. While specialty certification or specialized education aren’t required, they’re often recommended and always good for career advancement. Suggested pursuits include:
Neonatal Resuscitation Program through the American Academy of Pediatrics
S.T.A.B.L.E. Program for specific education on post-resuscitation/pre-transport stabilization of infants
Critical Care Registered Nurse (Neonatal) certification from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses
RNC Certification for Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing from the National Certification Corporation
Many NICU travel job posts also require a minimum number of years of clinical experience in a hospital setting. Some even require this experience be in pediatrics or even a pediatric intensive care setting.