Neonatal Nurse, Neonatal Nursing Schools, Training, Jobs, and Careers

What is a Neonatal Nurse?
A Neonatal Nurse provides health care to newborn babies who are twenty-eight days old or younger. They work with unhealthy newborns, those infants who need special care or critical care infants.

What does a neonatal nurse do?
The Neonatal Nurse works with newborn babies on one of three different levels:

Level I - This is where a healthy newborn usually stays - the nursery. This is almost nonexistent now due to the fact that mothers and babies typically room together and because they have such a short hospital stay unless the mother has had a C-section.

Level II - This is an intermediate or special care nursery. This is where a baby stays who may have been born prematurely or could be suffering from an illness. Infants under these conditions may need intravenous therapy, supplemental oxygen, specialized feedings or they just may need extra time to mature before going home.

Level III - This is known as the neonatal intensive care unit or the NICU. This unit admits all babies during their first twenty-eight days of life who are not able to be treated in either Levels I or II. These babies may be premature, small for their age or very sick babies who need high technology care such as incubators, ventilators, special equipment or surgery.

The Level III unit may be found in large general hospitals or they may be part of a specialized children's hospital. Neonatal nurses are responsible for giving direct patient care to these babies.

These nurses care for all of these newborns to make them healthy enough to leave the hospital and go home. Some of the duties of the neonatal nurse include the following:

1. Perform and interpret tests
2. Provide various care procedures
3. Examine medical histories
4. Administer medications
5. Work alongside of doctors and other specialists
6. Provide education to parents as well as caregivers on the best way to properly care for their baby
7. Conduct research

How to Become a Neonatal Nurse:
A career in neonatal nursing begins with studying to become a registered nurse either by attending a two or four year nursing program. One can earn either an associate's degree in nursing or a BSN in nursing respectively. You must then take and pass the NCLEX-RN examination in order to become a registered nurse.

To become a neonatal nurse, you must also obtain certification as a Neonatal Resuscitation Provider as well as obtain certification as a Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse. You must also complete regular continuing educational courses in order to maintain your licenses and certifications. This will help you to keep your skills current and you will be able to keep up with any advances made in this field.

Some of the courses you will study in college are:

a. Physiology
b. Pharmacology
c. Medical-Surgical Nursing
d. Foundations of Nursing
e. Human Anatomy
f. Medical Terminology
g. Biochemistry
h. Nutrition
i. Clinical rotations in various units of different hospitals

The neonatal nurse works in a variety of settings: medical clinics, hospitals and pediatric offices. Each setting may require different criteria for their neonatal nurse.

Neonatal Nurse Salary:
These nurses make excellent income. The national average pay is $81,000 per year. We know of these nurses that make as much as $102,000 per year. Of course, this kind of money will come with additional responsibilities.

Neonatal Nursing School:
After becoming a nurse, there are additional classes one has to take to become a neonatal nurse. Some advanced nursing schools offer these classes. We know of one such school. Visit the advanced nursing degree website to find it. You can do so by following this link. While there, request their free and no obligation information.

Return from Neonatal Nurse to Medical Assistants Schools and Careers

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