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PA in Neonatology?


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I am currently an undergrad student very interested in being a PA, specifically in Neonatology. I would love to know some specifics about the job (i.e. job duties, extra residency, highs and lows about the job, hours, etc...).

 

Thank you so much! Your input is greatly appreciated!

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Hi nins,

 

I am a PA working in Neonatology and would be happy to answer any questions you have about the field. As an overview, most PAs working in NICUs are on the front lines, they attend deliveries and are responsible for resuscitating and stabalizing critical infants. They do the majority of the procedures (umbilical lines, lumbar punctures, etc) though in teaching hospitals the residents/students may get to do a lot of these procedures too. They're also the ones who handle the minute-to-minute things that happen in the nursery because the docs aren't always around.

 

As for extra residency, most places willing to hire a new grad don't require you to have NICU experience (but it's a bonus). Most places are willing to train you on the job and as a new grad you should expect at least 4 months of basic training before you are allowed to be on your own.

 

Highs and lows...obviously dealing with the emotional toll that treating with sick babies and anxious parents is hard. Knowing that not every baby you see is going to make it is a harsh reality and that sometimes your best is still not good enough. Being able to talk with grieving families and deal with the anger thrown at you even about minor things because parents don't understand and are scared and you are an easy target to vent at. The highs though usually outnumber the lows and seeing a baby who was born so small and fragile go home is wonderful. Having a parent thank you for taking care of their baby is the best feeling ever.

 

If you have more questions please feel free to PM me.

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there is a postgrad pa residency in neonatology in kentucky. see www.appap.org for info. I'm guessing a grad of this program would have no problem landing a nicu job. alternatively the university of CO has a peds focus pa program and one can elect to specialize in neonatology if desired through that program.

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Awesome!! Thank you so much! Also...I am VERY interested in maintaining time to have a family and raise children. What are the prospects of attaining that while remaining a PA, specifically in neonatology or obgyn? What is the work schedule like? Is it flexible??

 

Thanks!! Christ's Blessings!

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That all depends on the facility you work at. If you are at a teaching facility, you may only be needed during the day as the residents and fellows handle most of the grunt work. Otherwise, once you have become seasoned, you may have to cover nights since there are no residents. It all depends on your facility's needs. Some non-teaching hospital NICUs have the nurses intubate, but this is rare and most of the time the neo ends up coming in. The downside of being at a teaching facility (as mentioned in an earlier post) is that procedures usually follow a chain starting with the fellow, resident, pa/np, medical student. I work PICU, but spent some time at both a teaching NICU and non-teaching NICU as an RT prior to becoming a PA. Best of luck!

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I just saw this thread. I am currently a nicu resident in UK's PA residency program. Honestly, there is such a HUGE learning curve, that I can't imagine going into the nicu without this year residency under my belt and seeing patients on my own. I would hands down recommended a residency before joining a nicu team. Granted, the level of acuity also plays a huge role - a level III/IV varies vastly in care from a level I/II. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask. It's an amazing field with a lot of autonomy and reward.

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