NICU nurses are responsible for the care of premature or critically ill infants in a neonatal intensive care unit. They provide around-the-clock care to these infants, monitoring their health and administering life-saving treatments as needed. NICU nurses also provide support and education to the infants' families, helping them to understand their child's condition and treatment.
Nurses with intensive care unit experience have never been in more demand and critical care nurses are sought after by nearly every hospital in the country. Travel nursing can be an exciting and rewarding career, especially for those who are excited about experiencing new places and meeting new people. There are many benefits to working as a travel NICU nurse, such as increased income, professional development opportunities, and gaining experience in areas outside of your own geographic region.
99 Travel NICU Nurse jobs available
99 Travel NICU Nurse jobs available
NICU Travel Nurse FAQ
How Much Do NICU Nurses Make?
The salary of a registered nurse can vary significantly depending on the experience of the nurse as well as the experience, certifications, and location they are working. The median salary for a registered nurse was $ 80,010 per year or $36.22 per hour in 2020 with most earning between $61,630 and $93,590 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Entry-level registered nurse jobs or those with the lowest 10% salary earned around $53,410, while the highest 10% earned more than $116,230. Typically, a travel nurse job will provide higher hourly and weekly pay than permanent positions in the same location, especially for critical care positions like the neonatal intensive care unit.
What Does a NICU Travel Nurse Do?
NICU RNs - or Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Nurses - care for premature and critically ill newborns. The equipment and advanced technology in the NICU provide very specialized care for the tiniest of tiny patients here. A level 1 NICU provides postnatal care and stabilizes relatively healthy full-term babies born between thirty-five and thirty-seven weeks. Once the newborns are stabilized, they are transferred to another facility. Level 2 NICUs resuscitate and stabilize preterm brief periods (twenty-four hours), and once stabilized they are transferred to a facility for newborns born less than thirty-two weeks as well as babies born with critical illnesses. They offer a full range of respiratory support and advanced imaging. There are some advanced level 3 or Level 4 NICUs that have capabilities of providing surgical repair of complex congenital or acquired conditions.
Typical NICU Registered Nurse Responsibilities:
Assist mothers during labor and after birth
Perform cognitive tests and evaluate test results
Monitor vitals (pulse oximetry, blood pressure, temperature) and report changes to the nurse manager
Deliver medications as prescribed by a physician or as per protocol
Participate in rounds with neonatologists and teach family members about infant care if necessary
Document patient’s progress and record their status
Nurse to Patient Ratio: 1:1-2
Subsets Level 4 to Level 1
Patients premature birth and critically care newborn children suffering from sepsis, hydrocephalus, ECMO, Congenital Viral Infections, Meconium Aspiration, Congenital Heart Disease, Gastroschisis, Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy, Pneumothorax, Hypoglycemia, and Choanal Atresia
How to Become a NICU Travel Nurse?
Education & License Requirements
Registered Nurses need to complete their associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing and take the National Council Licensure Exam NCLEX -RN Exam, which is a requirement to practice as an RN in the United States. Once the NCLEX exam is passed and you meet the board of nursing license requirements in your state, then all that is left is to do is gain the necessary clinical experience in your specialty and explore additional certifications.
Though it is possible to work as an intensive care unit nurse with NICU certification, it is a requirement in many hospitals. NICU nursing, like all critical and neonatal intensive care nursing specialties, can be stressful and demanding. NICU travel nurses who get ICU certified can expect higher pay because hospitals know they have the skills to treat babies and infants. One of the most common certifications for a NICU nurse is the NRP (Neonatal Resuscitation Program) offered by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
How Do Pay Packages Work for NICU Travel Nurse Jobs?
While compensation offers can vary greatly depending on the contract or agency offering, pay packages for travel neonatal intensive care nurse jobs typically have four major components: hourly taxable wages, meals and incidentals, housing, and travel.
Full-time nurses working at healthcare facilities receive a salary, but most travel nurse employers offer hourly wages. Every pay package must include a taxable hourly wage, and the amount can vary depending on the shift, location, and specialty required for the assignment.
Housing payments can be included in a payment from a staffing agency. This is typically offered in two ways. Either the company is providing its own housing, or the traveler is taking the housing stipend. It is more beneficial for the traveler to take the housing stipend for two primary reasons. First, they will have a choice in where they stay. Everyone’s definitions of comfortable and acceptable are different. The second reason the housing stipend is more beneficial for them is that it can be given as a nontaxable amount.
Meals and Incidentals
Also known as per diems, meals, and incidental stipends provide a daily budget for daily living expenses. These standards vary depending on the cost of living in cities and states across the country.
Travel is the last portion of the pay package. Many recruiters may not even offer travel and instead put that money into the per diems or housing for their traveler so they are receiving the benefits over the entire contract, not just at the very beginning or end of the contract. While a travel stipend can be used to cover the cost of a flight for the traveler, it is more often than not used to subsidize the traveler’s expenses to and from an assignment. Travel expenses can be offered as a reimbursement rate per mile, though many agencies will opt to offer a flat rate to and from an assignment.
Getting Started as a Traveling Nurse
Many travel nurses find work through recruitment agencies and marketplaces, which means they have better access to job boards to choose their schedule, location, and salary. When you begin browsing for new jobs yourself, be sure to consider the housing options, the benefits, the guaranteed hours policy, and the recruiting company’s overall reputation.
The good news is that Fusion Marketplace has everything you need when it comes to finding the perfect traveling nursing jobs. Here, you have the freedom to compare benefits, packages, and staffing agencies—all in one place.