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W What are the steps I can take to become a neonatologists how long will it take me to reach my goal?

I've always wanted to get into the nursing field and help babies/toddlers since I was younger I've always loved the thought of helping people or saving them I just want to understand how id get into this field.

Thank you comment icon Emotional maturity comes from experiences, both personal and professional. Heartbreaking sometimes. Just don't forget you are a person. Martin Schoen
Thank you comment icon Anytime I can offer some insight I am open. Martin Schoen

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Violaine’s Answer

Hello Aiyana, here's a step-by-step guide to achieving your dream. This was my dream when I was younger by the way. I wish you all the best!

1. Obtain a Bachelor's Degree: Start by getting a bachelor's degree in a pre-med or science-related field. This usually takes about four years.

2. Go to Medical School: Next, enroll in medical school to obtain either a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree. This phase typically lasts another four years.

3. Complete a Pediatrics Residency: After finishing medical school, you'll need to do a residency program in pediatrics. This usually takes about three years.

4. Pursue a Neonatology Fellowship: After your residency, look for a fellowship that specializes in neonatology. This stage also typically lasts three years.

5. Get Board Certification: Finally, become board certified in pediatrics through the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP). Once you've completed your fellowship, you can also get board certified in neonatology.

In total, the journey to becoming a neonatologist usually takes about 12 years after finishing high school. This includes four years for a bachelor's degree, four years in medical school, three years in a pediatrics residency, and three years in a neonatology fellowship. However, keep in mind that the timeline can vary based on personal factors, like how long each phase takes you and whether you take any breaks in between.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for the advice. Aiyana
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James Constantine’s Answer

Hi Aiyana,

Here's your roadmap to becoming a neonatologist, a medical expert who specializes in newborn infant care:

1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree: Start by obtaining a Bachelor's degree in nursing or a related field like biology or chemistry. This is typically a four-year full-time course.

2. Clear the NCLEX-RN: After your Bachelor's, you'll need to pass the NCLEX-RN exam to become a registered nurse (RN). This test evaluates your understanding and proficiency in areas like safe care environment, health promotion, psychosocial integrity, and physiological integrity.

3. Work as a Registered Nurse: Spend a few years working as an RN, preferably in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This will help you gain practical experience and hone your clinical skills. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests at least two years of full-time neonatal nursing experience.

4. Pursue a Master’s Degree or Doctorate in Nursing: To evolve into a neonatologist nurse practitioner (NNP), you'll need to earn a Master’s degree or Doctorate in Nursing, specializing in neonatal nursing. This usually requires an additional two to three years of full-time study.

5. Get Certified: Once you've completed your advanced degree, seek certification from recognized bodies like the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses or the National Certification Corporation for the Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing Specialties. This certification not only validates your expertise and dedication to the profession but may also be a requirement for certain employers or insurance companies.

6. Think About Further Education: If your aim is to become a medical doctor (MD) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) and practice as a neonatologist, you'll need to complete medical school and residency training in pediatrics, followed by fellowship training in neonatology. This is a long-term commitment, typically taking 11-14 years beyond your undergraduate degree.

Remember, the time it takes to become a neonatologist can vary based on your academic background, work experience, and educational choices. If you already hold a nursing degree and choose to become an NNP directly, it could take roughly 6-8 years of full-time study post high school. If you opt for an MD or DO degree with subsequent residency and fellowship, it could take around 11-14 years post high school.

May God bless your journey!
JC.
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Martin’s Answer

That's an excellent inquiry. Initially, you'll need to finish your undergraduate studies and medical schooling. It's during your residency that you'll get hands-on experience with pediatrics and newborns. This includes both healthy infants and those who need specialized, intensive care. This field requires a unique individual with a passion for learning and dedication to work. Emotionally, it can be challenging. The victories will send you soaring with joy, but there will also be heart-wrenching moments when, despite your best efforts, a newborn might not survive.
Thank you comment icon I appreciate you taking the time to answer this. Aiyana
Thank you comment icon Do you see this as something you need to be completely emotionally mature for? Aiyana
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