A neonatal nurse is specially trained nurses that take care of newborn babies and nurses that take care of newborns. However, nurses may extend this period longer depending on the infants’ conditions and needs. Neonatal nurses have very specialized skill sets. In addition, they need to be very strong in newborn assessments, anatomy, and physiology. During my time at the hospital, I encountered many neonatal nurses, in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU for short). However, neonatal nurses may work in less stressful places like the maternity ward, nurseries and clinics. In summary, neonatal nurses make a difference in the lives of newborns and their families.
Neonatal Nurse Responsibilities
Neonatal Nurses have a variety of responsibilities pertaining to newborn care nursing and caring for newborn babies. These responsibilities include performing head to toe assessments, monitoring vital signs, and administering nutrition and medications. The more acute the infant, the more responsibilities the nurse takes on. For instance, these responsibilities include IV therapy, phlebotomy and management of ventilators and incubators. Neonatal nurses use modern-day medical technology to deliver care. Therefore, they keep current with new technologies, practices, and standards of care.
Neonatal Nurse Practitioners provide advanced nursing care work in a variety of settings including clinics, acute care settings, and NICU’s. Their responsibilities include providing holistic care, resuscitation, health promotion, disease prevention, and diagnosing and managing illnesses.
They are both very people interactive positions. For instance, neonatal nurses educate parents on their newborn’s conditions. In addition, they care for newborns discharged from the hospital.
How to be a Neonatal Nurse?
There are three levels of requirements and positions in the field of Neonatal Nursing:
- A registered nurse (RN) license
- An Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) or Bachelor of Science (BSN) in Nursing Degrees
- Passed the NCLEX exam. They need to be certified by the Board of Nursing.
Neonatal Nurse Major
A student in school should focus on neonatal nurse major with coursework in maternal newborn nursing. Likewise, the student should also focus on pediatric nursing and the basics of pharmacology.
Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
The Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (also known as NNP for short) is an advanced practice registered nurse. First, the NNP must meet all the requirements of the basic nurse. In addition, they must have a Master of Science in Nursing or a Doctorate of Nursing Practice. Depending on the future area of work, schools may require certain levels of experience prior to admission.
Above all, a student interested in becoming a NPP practitioner should focus on coursework in advanced neonatal health assessments. These include neonatal physiology, advanced neonatal pharmaceuticals and essential components of the NICU.
In addition, different states and districts may have specific licenses and certifications in addition to the basic requirements. NNP should get practical experience through internships prior to graduation to increase your chances of getting a job.
This field of nursing is categorized into three levels as described below:
This is the most basic level of caring for healthy infants and educating parents of the newborn after discharge.
This level involves giving intermediate care to premature or ill newborns. Furthermore, it may require IV therapy and specialized feedings prior to discharge.
Level III is known as the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Newborns that require critical support to survive are in this level. This type of care includes advanced technology equipment such as ventilators, incubators, and surgery.
Neonatal Nurse Salary
The neonatal nurse salary is high compared to other nursing specialties. Although the medium average salary for RNs is US$65,000, Neonatal nurses made a median salary of US$67,000. Neonatal nurse practitioners earned US$103,000.