What Does a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Nurse Do?
NICU Nurses are registered nurses who specialize in caring for newborn infants with a variety of conditions such as prematurity, birth defects, infection, cardiac malformations, and surgical problems. They work in the Neonatal Intensive Care Units, which are specialized areas designed to care for the most at-risk newborns. Their responsibilities include monitoring vital signs, administering medications, providing nutrition, and supporting basic care such as diapering and holding. They also use and monitor medical equipment, such as incubators and ventilators.
NICU Nurses must be highly skilled in neonatal care and have a thorough understanding of neonatal diseases and conditions. They are required to have excellent observational skills to detect subtle changes in an infant's condition, rapid critical thinking abilities, and the expertise to perform complex medical procedures.
In addition to their clinical skills, NICU Nurses must also be compassionate and provide emotional support to parents and families during what is often a stressful and uncertain time. They often serve as a crucial communication link between the healthcare team and the infant's family.
NICU Nurses typically work in hospitals, particularly in maternity or children's hospitals. Given the delicate nature of their patients, they must be prepared to care for infants around the clock, often working long hours and in shifts.
The role of a NICU Nurse is critical in the early days of infants who require intensive medical attention, and their dedicated care is a cornerstone in the health and development of these vulnerable patients.