4 answers

I am hoping to become a Neo-natal nurse. Is it worth it?

Asked Mentor, Ohio

I am super interested in becoming a Neonatal nurse, but everyone I talk to about it says how emotionally challenging it is, how stressful it is, and how only certain people will ever be able to do it. I was wondering, how do you know if you "have what it takes" to be a Neonatal nurse? If you are a Neonatal nurse, is it worth all of the stress and emotional strain to be able to help these sick infant? How do you handle it when a newborn doesn't make it? I would really appreciate any answers! Thank you in advance for your help! #nursing #medical #healthcare #pediatrics #pediatric-nursing #neonatal #babies #maternal-newborn-care

4 answers

Teresa’s Answer

Updated Memphis, Tennessee

Dear Angelina- I have been a neonatal nurse for many years and I can't imagine a better job! It can be emotional because you are responsible for caring for a tiny patient who can't tell you what is wrong- You must learn skills to perform assessments and be able to decide if your patient is within the normal limits or if your patient needs an intervention to improve. So, yes- sometimes stressful- But also SO rewarding! The patient needs your skill and so does the family. You are also there to help the family to learn to be the caregiver to their own tiny baby. As far as dealing with a death. It is never easy. Nurses cry with the family. But that's ok- we are people too. We love our patients and it can be difficult to lose one. But, I think the family wants to know that you are caring for their baby with that much sensitivity and love. We can't be paralyzed by the fear of a death because the baby needs us to perform the best we can. The good news is that in my unit, infant death is not a common occurrence. We can go months without a loss- so it's more often happy than sad. We have seen some very tiny, sick babies have great outcomes and go home with their family. Every year we have a reunion party for NICU graduates to have them return to see how they are doing- Last year I got to talk to a girl I cared for when she was a preemie in our unit and she was on her way to college! Her mom remembered me because I was in a video of them giving their baby her first bath! Angelina- if you have a passion to become a neonatal nurse-- then follow your dream! Best of luck to you Teresa

Thank you so much, Teresa Bentley! I really appreciate your answer! It is good to know that the good outweighs the bad in Neonatal nursing. Thank you also for sharing your story! I appreciate the opportunity to learn from a real neonatal nurse who knows what it is like to be one! Thanks again for your answer!

Patty’s Answer

Updated Baltimore, Maryland

Hi Angelina,

In my opinion the best way to know if you will be a good fit for neonatal nursing is to try it out. And by that I mean try to shadow a neonatal nurse in some way. If you can't, then there is no other choice than to try it out firsthand. In nursing school I was able to do clinicals in long term care. I asked my instructor if one knows if they are "cut out" for a certain specialty like long term care and she said yes. It was then that I knew I wasn't cur out for long term care. Every aspect of nursing has its pros and cons and some cons are harder to accept than others. Remember, your training will help you and ask for help whenever you are struggling.

Best of luck to you!


Thank you so much for your helpful answer! I have been looking into shadowing a neonatal nurse....at most hospitals you have to be 18, and I am 16. I will continue looking, though! Thanks again for your help and support!
Angelina, 18 will be here before you know it. Keep asking question. Keep networking. And someone friendly in HR may be willing to give you some pointers. Patty
Thank you so much!

Ataya’s Answer

Updated Chicago, Illinois

I think it depends on how you view your purpose with these babies. If you go into the NICU thinking that you want to save a life, then you probably will get burnt out fast. As a nurse we are a special part in these families lives whether their babies survive or not. We are part of their journey. This is the calling that many nurses feel and this is what will keep you coming back everyday.

Thank you for your helpful answer! I really appreciate it!

Erlease’s Answer

Updated Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Nursing in general is a very rewarding career choice. I'm sure you will have good days and bad days, but just know that you are making a difference every day.

Thank you for your help!