Becoming a neonatal nurse is something that many nurses think they would enjoy. The truth is, it takes a special person to be involved in this type of nursing. To work in a neonatal unit, you must be able to pivot between the extreme emotions that occur in this field. One moment may be overwhelmed by the joy of a newborn child; the next may be one of quiet tragedy and sympathy at the loss of one.
Here are four of the special qualities that make a great neonatal nurse:
Must Love Babies
You will likely spend a great deal of your day comforting babies on your unit. Your normal day might involve rocking them, feeding them, singing to them, or walking with them. In short, you must adore babies to be this type of nurse.
For Crying Out Loud!
It's a fact of life: babies cry. They will sometimes cry because they are not comfortable; they will cry because they are in need. Sometimes, they will cry when they aren't necessarily in need! It will be your job to make them feel comfortable and safe. When several babies join their voices into one song, your patience level will definitely be tested.
Master Diaper Changer
Are you immune to strong odors? If you have been in nursing for a while, you definitely are. Do you think that little baby diapers are adorable? Taking care of infants necessarily means that you are also changing tiny diapers. The master diaper changer will do so with great expertise and without fuss or fanfare.
If a neonatal baby is in intensive care, so will you. Sometimes, the parents will come alone to visit their child; other times they will come together. In some cases, they may not come at all. You should be prepared to deal with any of these potential reactions. When parents are informed of their child's condition, they will likely experience many emotions: confusion, anger and loss, among them. Since they will be vulnerable in that moment, you should expect to compensate for any shortcomings on their part as well as cater to a need for comfort and understanding.
A neonatal nurse observes the miracle of childbirth all around her, but it can be emotionally taxing when babies just don't seem to be getting better. Even so, this type of nursing is an especially rewarding one. When you help a mom or dad dress their little one in their "going home" outfit, you'll know you made the right decision.
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