Redefining Career Goals as a Neonatal Nurse — Info Package
Working with children is always an amazing experience. And fortunately, I have had great chances to do this in the community, during travel, in oncology setups, neonatal setups, with children who are ill, as well as with children at daycare centers. My favourite of these instances was with neonates, when I was able to happily share my learning experience at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
In the early years of my bachelors, I was given chances to work there for around a month, once during my electives and secondly when I was on my traineeship. The time you spend there is so joyful — when your shift starts with watching those cute little creatures, sometimes quiet and sometimes screaming in their incubators. My write-up aims to define this experience through describing the basic cores of NICU and NICU nursing, so that people planning to pursue a career in neonatal nursing can learn more about this field and strive for the chance to work in any relevant and quality-based setting in Pakistan:
What is the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)?
Children who are born prematurely, with low birth weights, or newborns with serious medical conditions requiring specialized care from doctors, nurses and therapists are brought to stay at the NICU for care. In short, it is a high-dependency unit or intensive care unit for neonates.
What Nurses do in the NICU?
As in other areas of nursing, the care-related aspects are the same for neonates (which nurses are responsible for implementing). But the protocols and processes are quite different due to the age group. Hygiene care, ventilator care, maintaining oxygenation, sampling, maintaining IV lines, monitoring vital signs, suctioning, administering medication, communicating with the family and health team, timely reporting of circumstances, documentation and also providing advanced life support to neonates through resuscitation practices are all required tasks of nurses at the NICU.
What is Required to Become a Neonatal Nurse in Pakistani Context?
Prerequisites include an accredited and authentic diploma in nursing or a 4-year degree of Bachelors in Nursing, followed by basic clinical practice, valid nursing licensure and good academic resume. Specialization in pediatric, child health or neonatal domains is necessary in some clinical settings for diploma nurses. In other areas, a diploma in midwifery with extensive experience in child health is also accepted for neonatal services in Pakistan.
What are Other Scopes for Neonatal Nurses that are Widely Accepted Around the Globe?
Nurses who have worked with neonates can pursue higher academic studies and work as educationalists, researchers, sexual health practitioners, neonatal nurse practitioners, psychologists, early childhood development practitioners, epidemiologists, and lactation consultants. Many pursue the same career tract with advanced nursing skills, while many others join management positions in their own neonatal setups. Play therapist nurses are also emerging globally.
What are the Common Pros and Cons of Neonatal Nursing?
- Stress-free as it is with these little angels, handling is a bit easier as compared to managing adult; wide scope around the globe; the variety of learning with a different age group; educating parents and learning from their experience; strengthening compassion and warmth.
- It is difficult to work with such tiny creatures for many people; alarm fatigue; sensitivity with children; small doses are difficult to administer; different vital signs and ranges; clues are easily missed.
Traits Required for Neonatal Nurses?
There are no different requirements as such; neonatal nurses possess traits similar to all other nurses. However, you have to be more vigilant, provide extra care, excel at communicating with parents, be exceptionally compassionate as well as a critical thinker and keen observer. A good team worker must be able to manage and help other neonates in the setting.
In the end, neonatal nursing in Pakistan is a challenging but emerging career path with various learning opportunities. People who are interested in working and gaining experience with children can opt for becoming neonatal nurses to learn and understand the particular challenges of this age group.
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