For starters, NICU Nursing, otherwise known as Neonatal Nursing, is a special Nursing area that deals with newborns. As a NICU nurse, you are responsible for caring newborn patients during the first month of life.
In some cases, although this is an exception rather than the rule, NICU nurses can handle patients from the time they were born up to the time of discharge, which can take as long as 2 years.
If you love caring for fragile and healthy newborn babies alike, then NICU Nursing may be the right choice for you. To get you started, let’s examine first what awaits those who want to enter this field, including salary range, job outlook and career options.
NICU Nursing Salary
On average, NICU or neonatal nurses in the US take home as much $95,000–almost 42% higher than the national average across America . This data is based on the May 2013 salary report from Indeed.com.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics, on the other hand, estimates that NICU nurses in the US earn anywhere between $44,190 and $95,130 annually. Salary is influenced by different factors such as educational level and the location where the neonatal nurse is practicing.
Those who are staying in coasts and major Midwest cities tend to earn higher salaries. In terms of US state, California tops the list with an annual salary of $90,860 for NICU nurses. This is followed by Massachusetts and Hawaii which generate an average annual salary of $86,810 and $83,950, respectively.
Job Outlook For NICU Nurses
A lot of opportunities await NICU nurses in the United States, with a 26% growth in job positions expected between 2010 and 2020 (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Both advancement in technology and increasing incidents of prematurity have led to a positive job outlook for neonatal nurses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for instance, estimates that one out of every eight babies born in the United States is premature.
Nursing shortage especially in rural areas may also open a lot job vacancies for NICU nurses through the rest of the decade.
Career Options For NICU Nurses
Since Neonatal Nursing requires intricate skills and procedures, NICU nurses will always have room for growth.
Apart from caring for newborn babies, NICU nurses can also choose to take graduate classes to either specialize in research and leadership or explore other advanced Nursing specialties.