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Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse

A Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse cares for premature and critically ill newborns in the neonatal intensive care unit of a hospital.


Neonatal Intensive Care Nurses are in demand due to advances that have dramatically increased the survival rate of infants born with a low birth weight.

Required education
Average annual salary
React and make decisions quickly in demanding conditions.
Work hands-on, directly with patients.
Follow a routine that allows you to anticipate and prepare for every situation.
Take on different tasks, patients, and situations every day.
You’ll look after infants with premature congenital disabilities, dangerous infections, and other problems from birth until they’re discharged.
Nursing bag, medication, and signs cartoon graphic
What you’ll do


You’ll be a liaison with other healthcare professionals.


You’ll record an infant’s progress and recovery.


You’ll teach parents about their baby’s condition, breastfeeding, and help with any other concerns they may have.


You’ll give medication and connect infants to the latest technology that helps them breathe and be fed intravenously.

Where you’ll work
  • Home Health Services
  • Hospitals
  • Medical evacuation and transport services
  • Neonatal Intensive care units
Hear what Neonatal Intensive Care Nurses have to say
  • Video still of Anita Kannan
  • The skills of a Pediatric and Neonatal Critical Care Transport Nurse

    Hear what Anita, MSN, RN, CCRN, C-NPT, has to say about being a Pediatric and Neonatal Critical Care Transport Nurse.

How to become a Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse


Pass the NCLEX-RN.


Work as a Registered Nurse.

Gain at least two years’ experience in Neonatal Nursing and at least 2,000 hours in Neonatal Direct Patient Care, Administration, Education or Research.


Pass the Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing Certification exam through the National Certification Corporation.


You’re ready to work as a Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse.

Join an Organization
Become a member of a Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse organization to find career opportunities, learn from your colleagues, and support the profession.
Nurses Leading Innovation
After a nearly 20-year nursing career, Patricia (Tricia) Cady, RN, ADN, BSN, decided to return to school to pursue her BSN at the University of Virginia (UVA) School of Nursing, where she observed a long-standing problem with extubations in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). To help address this issue, Tricia developed the idea for the Cady Hug, a flexible vest that helps protect neonates from accidental extubations while keeping them comfortable and their tubes accessible for their care providers.
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