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Neonatal Nursing: An In-Depth Look

Neonatal Nursing: An In-Depth Look

Renee Berg / Monster Contributing Writer

“[Neonatal nurses] have to care about the babies and realize the families aren’t just people,” Quinn says. “The people who stay NICU nurses are people who care about the family as a whole.”

Nurturing Long-Term Relationships

Typically, neonatal nurses work 12-hour shifts, caring for as many as three babies. Patients born slightly premature but otherwise healthy may stay in the NICU for just a few days, whereas those born with more complicated health problems may stay several months.

Developing long-term relationships with their patients is common for neonatal nurses, who often receive cards and photos of their former patients’ birthdays and holidays and even college-graduation announcements. It’s those relationships that make neonatal nursing so fulfilling, Quinn says, and the specialty one that engenders loyalty. In fact, some Tucson Medical Center nurses spend their entire careers in the NICU.

A patient’s death and seeing families in distress are the job’s biggest challenges, she says, but those experiences are rare. When a baby goes home, it’s a bright day on the NICU floor.

“You never know what the outcome will be, [but] most of us think it will be a good outcome, because that’s what we’ve seen,” Quinn says.

This article originally appeared on Monster Career Advice.

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