Steps To Becoming A Neonatal Nurse Practitioner – If you want to care for people and make a difference in their lives, why not get a job helping them where it all starts – birth. Becoming a neonatal nurse will allow you to work with newborns and their families. In this article, you can learn more about NICU nurses, their roles, salaries, and how to become one.
A neonatal nurse is a special type of nurse who cares for newborns and babies up to two years of age. They work with babies with low birth weight, heart defects, congenital diseases, infections, or other medical problems.
Steps To Becoming A Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
As one of the most challenging and rewarding nursing careers, neonatal nursing requires excellent observation, empathy, quick reaction and organizational skills. Typically, neonatal nurses work in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), providing different levels of care to patients. Additionally, they may work in other settings such as maternity wards, home health services, community health organizations, etc.
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A neonatal nurse can provide many types of care. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), there are four levels of neonatal care that a healthcare facility can provide, with higher levels offering more specialized care.
Level I neonatal nursing is for newborns in good physical condition, and facilities that provide this care are often called “well-born newborn nurseries.” Here, nurses provide routine postnatal care to premature babies at 35 to 37 weeks’ gestation and sick newborns at less than 35 weeks’ gestation, unless they go to other facilities.
Level I neonatal nurses can perform neonatal resuscitation, administer injections, perform hearing and vision tests, give baths, and teach mothers how to care for their babies.
In these nurseries it is possible to care for newborns born at 32 weeks or later, with a birth weight of more than 1,500 g and with moderate health problems.
What Is A Nurse Practitioner?
Neonatal nurses who work in special care nursing have all the capabilities of a level I nurse. Additionally, they focus on newborns recovering from intensive care and may provide support and medications to babies. They also provide assisted ventilation to babies with breathing problems temporarily until the newborn’s condition improves or until the baby can be transferred to a higher-level facility.
Neonatal intensive care unit facilities provide vital support for as long as needed, offering more than 24 hours of continuous assisted ventilation, high-frequency ventilation and advanced imaging.
Level III neonatal nurses are specially qualified and trained to work in the NICU. Here they provide care for babies born before 32 weeks of pregnancy, weighing less than 1500g, or newborns with serious medical or surgical conditions.
Level IV facilities are also called regional NICUs and are usually affiliated with a large hospital that specializes in the surgical repair of serious genetic or acquired diseases. Among other procedures, they provide mechanical ventilation, several advanced surgeries, such as “open heart” surgeries and ECMO (External Membrane Oxygenation).
Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Salary (plus Career Tips)
In addition to neonatal nurses, local NICU teams are made up of pediatric and other specialists. They care for babies born between 22 and 24 weeks of pregnancy with critical health issues.
Neonatal nurses who work in the NICU have several roles. Your responsibilities may include reviving babies, educating new mothers about breastfeeding, and everything in between. NICU nurses work closely with specialists such as pediatricians, midwives and nutritionists to care for newborns with a variety of health problems. They can attend births and measure and weigh newborns. NICU nurses make sure your baby’s body functions, such as circulation, digestion, and breathing, are working as expected. Furthermore, they play an important role in supporting the baby’s parents.
If you’re thinking about a career in neonatal nursing, you need to know what it takes to get there. Here are the NICU nursing requirements and the steps you need to take to become one.
The first step to becoming a NICU nurse is to earn a nursing degree from an accredited nursing program. You can choose between a two-year degree in Nursing (ADN) and a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). However, hospitals often prefer BSN degree holders for NICU positions.
Nicu Nurse Job Description
After receiving a nursing license, the next step is to obtain it. To do this, you need to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, also known as NCLEX-RN, and become a registered nurse. The NCLEX is administered by the National Council of Boards of Nursing. Tests your knowledge in various areas of nursing, such as health promotion and maintenance, psychosocial integrity, physiological integrity, etc.
After you obtain your license and become an RN, you will need to gain clinical experience in neonatal care. Employers generally require at least two years of experience working with neonatal patients. You can use units like:
Once you become an RN and gain clinical experience, you can choose from several organizations that offer neonatal nursing certifications to further develop your skills. Although not always a requirement, certification in neonatal care offers a competitive advantage for NICU nursing positions, especially those at higher unit levels.
Organizations such as the National Certification Corporation (NCC) and the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) offer several certifications, including:
How To Become A Nicu Nurse (neonatal Nurse) — Pacific College
Neonatal nursing offers many career development opportunities. With experience and advanced training while pursuing a master’s degree in nursing (MSN) or doctorate in nursing degree (DNP), you can assume or fulfill a variety of clinical leadership roles in the NICU.
One possible option is to become a neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP). For this position you need a postgraduate degree and two years of nursing experience. Additionally, you must pass the NNP certification exam offered by the National Certification Commission.
According to reports, in the United States, the average salary for a NICU RN is $108,184 per year. This number shows the median of the estimated range starting at $49,000 as the lowest salary and reaching $244,000 as one of the highest salaries.
Along with the lucrative salary, job prospects are promising for all RNs, including the NICU. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of registered nurses is expected to increase 9 percent between 2020 and 2030. Each year, it is estimated that there are approximately 194,500 job openings for professionals in the field.
Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Career Overview
A career as a neonatal intensive care nurse is one of the most demanding and rewarding career choices you can make. If you’re up for the challenge, follow our guide on how to become a NICU nurse and start working in this field.
Although the requirements of a NICU nurse can be very difficult to fulfill, in the end, the role is very rewarding. In addition to promising job prospects and high salaries, you will enjoy the joy of having children and witnessing the beauty of this world. Your patients may be small, but the difference you can make in helping them manage their health is huge. If you enjoy making a difference in other people’s lives, why not make it a career? Obtaining a nursing degree is without a doubt one of the biggest educational investments you can make today. Nursing as a profession is a rewarding career filled with many opportunities, challenges and rewards.
If you are in high school, useful courses to consider are science, especially biology, anatomy and physiology, and chemistry. You will also need math/algebra and excellent written and verbal communication skills. If you have completed high school and are considering a nursing program, core courses for most programs may include: chemistry, anatomy and physiology, microbiology, nutrition, algebra and statistics, age development, English composition, sociology, and psychology . The number of prerequisites depends on the specific program you choose. If you are a nurse and are interested in becoming an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN), a Registered Nurse (RN) license is a prerequisite for the APRN licensure/licensure program.
The two most common types of nursing programs are practical nursing (PN) and baccalaureate nursing (BSN). Educational requirements vary for each program. The PN program is the quickest option, ranging from 12 to 18 months. The degree program has a variety of two-year associate’s degree (ADN) or four-year bachelor’s degree (BSN). Earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing can be a stepping stone to other higher education career opportunities, such as Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) (e.g., Registered Nurse [NP], Nurse Midwives [NM], and Registered Nurse Anesthetist [CRNA]). The length of the program may vary depending on whether the person is enrolled in school full-time or part-time.
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Each program may have a slightly different application process and requirements. Programs should be contacted directly for program details. Consultations about adoption should be made as far in advance as possible.
After graduation, candidates must pass the NCLEX exam. Mississippi is an NLC (Nurse Licensing Agreement) state. This means that if a nurse’s primary residence is in Mississippi, they can practice in any of the 32 compact states.
The Mississippi Board of Nursing certifies qualified registered nurses
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