In 2018, there were 3.1 million registered nurses employed in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Neonatal nurses are employed by hospitals, managed-care facilities, long-term care facilities, and government agencies.
The only way to become a registered nurse is through completion of one of the three kinds of educational programs, plus passing the licensing examination. Registered nurses may apply for employment directly to hospitals, nursing homes, and companies and government agencies that hire nurses. Jobs can also be obtained through school career services offices, by signing up with employment agencies specializing in placement of nursing personnel, or through the state employment office. Other sources of jobs include nurses' associations, professional journals, and newspaper want ads.
Neonatal nurses seeking career advancement, but who would like to continue to care for babies, might consider becoming a neonatal nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist. They can do this by gaining at least two years of experience in a neonatal intensive care unit (recommended by the National Association of Neonatal Nurses) and then completing graduate school training in their desired specialty.
Tips for Entry
Learn how to tend to a newborn's needs by babysitting or speaking to new mothers.
Help an at-risk or struggling newborn by volunteering to be a baby cuddler at your local hospital or orphanage.
Discover the highlights—as well as the lowlights—of this career by talking to a neonatal nurse.