Things You Need to Know If You Want To Become A Neonatal Nurse

Nursing is an act that all humans are capable of. However, not all humans are capable of giving specialized care on a daily basis. This is where nurses come to the picture. Nurses are people who took their time to study in a more in-depth way on how they can provide specialized and advance care to patients and people who may need it. In a hospital setting, as many as there are different fields in medicine, there are also specific types of nurses that will come along. Generally there are more than 30 different types’ nurses or nursing careers that registered nurses can practice on and one of these types include a neonatal nurse career.


Neonatal Nurse Job Outlook

Neonatal nursing is a certain branch of the Nursing field, which involves taking care of infants in the first few hours to days of their lives. As a neonatal nurse, you will be working either in a special care area wherein sick infants are kept like hospitals and birthing centers or in the community. Taking care of infants, making them feel warm and secure and administering any prescribed medication will be his or her primary function. For a neonatal nurse, job outlook is very important.

Based on the current statistics, hospitals all over the United States lack nurses who specialize in the field. If you have a neonatal nurse job outlook, now is the perfect time for you to think about pursuing it. Neonatal nursing is not a confined practice. Therefore, you do not have to think about working in the hospital ward for the rest of your life. Though seeing those “angels” smile and giggle is rewarding enough, other opportunities are also open for neonatal nurses. There are other routes that can be taken to enhance further the career. This includes opportunities to work as a nurse manager, nurse educator, nurse researcher and a lot more.

There are many good things that surround neonatal nursing that you will certainly enjoy. If you have that inner sense of becoming one, never have a second thought. This field will not just give you a job but a brighter future as well. If you still find yourself asking, what a neonatal nurse is, you may do well reading the answer below.


What is a Neonatal Nurse?

A neonatal nurse is a registered nurse who is specializing or focusing care on neonates or newborn infants. Generally, babies who are one month to 12 months old are called infants while newborn infants are those who are just a few hours or days old. Neonates, on the other hand, are infants who are up to 28 days old. However, some neonatal nurses can take care of infants up to 3 months old. These are the infants or babies that a neonatal nurse focuses care to.

Neonatal nurses provide a range of nursing care to newborn infants and neonates.

  • A neonatal nurse may provide care to healthy neonates.
  • They may also provide thorough care to ill newborn infants as well as premature babies.
  • In addition, neonatal nurses can also serve to provide intensive care to infants who have acquired serious illness in the NICU or Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

A neonatal nurse is a professional with high resource of passion to nurse, diligence, discipline as well as a good attitude in terms of working with teams. One reason for this is because a neonatal nurse often works hand in hand with the infant’s parents, the neonatologists, and other medical specialists to attain the desired results at the fastest time possible.

With regards to their place of work, neonatal nurses as well as neonatal nurse practitioners do not only work in hospitals. These professionals may also be found in other health centers like clinics and other health institutions in the community. Some may also be found in schools as educators or consultants.

Neonatal Nurse Career Levels

The neonatal nursing career does not only end in producing a “plain Jane” neonatal nurse who can do general neonatal nursing tasks. There are also certain levels for this nursing career depending on what neonatal nursery level they are assigned to do – this includes Level I, Level II, Level III and Level IV.

  • Level I neonatal nurses are those who care for healthy newborn infants and neonates.
  • Level II neonatal nurses are assigned to focus care on sick infants as well as those who are born prematurely. Basically, Level II neonatal nurses are focusing care on patients who are in continuous need of attention, health-wise.
  • Level III neonatal nurses are the busiest when compared to Levels I and II. These neonatal nurses have greater responsibilities as they are tasked to care for infants needing intensive nursing care like those in the NICU as well as infants with very serious illnesses.
  • Level IV is for neonatal nurses with the skillset of Level III neonatal nurses. However, instead of just giving intensive care, they are expected to care for infants extensively. This means that they will be taking care of infants with complex and critical issues. Level IV neonatal nursing are most often accompanied by surgeons and neonatologists as complex surgical repairs may also be done.

Neonatal Nurse Job Description

Neonatal nursing is perhaps one of the most rewarding fields in nursing. Specialists in the field take care of newly delivered babies who are either suffering from immaturity or infection. There is a variety of conditions that can affect an infant that may complicate things and taking care of them may require advance treatment given by a multidisciplinary healthcare team.

The neonatal nurse job description involves keeping the babies feel warm, making them feel safe, administering medications and feeding them. Some other specific tasks that a neonatal nurse does are as follows:

  • Monitor infants vital signs
  • Setting appropriate temperatures in incubators
  • Making sure that infants under oxygen therapy  receives the right amount of oxygen
  • Promoting an environment conducive for rest
  • Promoting a safe environment
  • Administering medications in the right amount given in the right prescribed time.

There are some technical aspects that are involved in a neonatal nurse job description. Neonatal nurses should be responsible in keeping records and updating them regularly. It is also their responsibility to inform the attending physician of how the infant responds to the given treatment. And lastly, they should be the primary person to communicate with the parents of the sick infants.

Neonatal Nurse Salary

Everyone needs to make a living. Well, in this generation that everything is bought with a price, the only way to survive is to land a stable job that will make you earn more than what you spend. In year 2006, the career of being a nurse was highlighted as one of the good-paying jobs out there. Moreover, until now, it still proves the same.

In the digits released by, a nurse has the potential average earning of $90,000 – $110,000 a year. Tempting isn’t it? Of all disciplines in the nursing field, neonatal nursing ranks second in terms of salary.

Based on the same report, a certified nurse anesthetist earns by up to $185,000. Neonatal nurse salary on the other hand is around $119,000.

The reason behind why neonatal nurse salary is huge lies behind the complexity of their job. Neonatal nurses takes care of fragile human beings in the first hours and days of their lives. In addition, most of the times they take care of sick infants. Infants are perhaps one of the most difficult patients to handle. Unlike adults, they cannot speak of what they feel and what do they want. All they can do is cry. This fact leaves them vulnerable to distress whenever they are left unattended even in a short period of time. Therefore, neonatal nurses have to closely watch them.

In a NICU (neonatal intensive care unit), nurses oftentimes work with neonatal nurse practitioners. They are like nursing assistants that aid nurses in taking care of infants. Because of this, it is not surprising that the neonatal nurse practitioner salary is almost the same with what neonatal nurses earn.

Neonatal nursing is truly a rewarding job. Though it involves a lot of duties, nurses specializing in the field are surely well-compensated. So if you are looking for a path to take, always consider nursing. Moreover, for sure, you will never ever regret your choice.

How to Become a Neonatal Nurse?

The answer to this question is not long but not easy. For you to become a licensed neonatal nurse, you must undergo 4 years of combined neonatal nurse education and related learning experience. Do not worry; it is not hard as it sounds. Who knows? You might fall in love with the neonatal nurse education course and find it like a walk in the park? Below are the basic steps in how to become a neonatal nurse.

  • Neonatal Nurse Education
    Your first stop in becoming a professional nurse is to fulfill neonatal nurse education requirements. There are a lot of good institutions that offer quality nursing education in the country. With that being set aside, you should focus more in preparing yourself to become a nurse as early as high school.
  • Neonatal Nurse Education Requirements
    Registered nursing programs are typically 4 years long. During this period, you as a student will be learning neonatal nurse education requirements in a classroom for the first year or so and later on be exposed in a hospital setting to gain related learning experience. For you to excel in the field you should be mentally prepared. Below are some important points that you should know before you immerse yourself in pursuing that bachelor’s degree.

    • Before College
      • Hone your Science and Math Skills
        Math and science: who does not love them? Well, if you do not, then start loving it as early as now. Nursing has these subjects as its core. Being a nurse, you will be facing a lot of computations and naming of chemicals and body parts. However, unlike in a classroom, you will be handling numbers and names, which can either spell life and death.It is very crucial that you build a strong foundation in these subjects. By having a strong foothold, you will surely face little to no problems at all in pursuing that diploma.
      • Read About the Course
        Nursing programs follow a course syllabus wherein the subjects you have to take will be enumerated. It is wise that you as an aspirant know these subjects. Subjects like biology, chemistry, and algebra are commonly taught in the first year. These subjects serve as prerequisites of more advanced subjects like anatomy and physiology and pharmacology. Pay attention to the minor subjects that you have to take, too. Know them well and get yourself prepared.
    • College
      • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
        As you may know, you should have to have a diploma in nursing before you can take a licensure exam and be called a registered nurse. Your years spent in college will teach you the basic skills on how to become a neonatal nurse. Because of this, you must choose a school that has the latest technology in teaching the course. Medicine of today’s generation relies heavily in technology. So, you should really know more about it. Therefore, choose a school that holds a good reputation and has the latest gizmos in teaching the course.
    • After College
      • Passing the NCLEX Exam
        This is the moment that you should be looking forward to. After four years of spending your time being a student, this is your time to finally be called a professional. NCLEX RN is a computer-based exam, which will cover the basic areas of nursing.Four years is quite long and it may take you a little time to remember all of what you learned before you take the test. Therefore, it is best that you enroll in a good NCLEX review center before you walk your way to taking the exam.
      • Advancing Neonatal Nursing Degrees
        • NNP or Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
          The road does not stop by having a license and choosing to be a specialist in the field of neonatal care. If you are interested, there are continuing education programs that you can take to improve yourself that can also potentially increase your salary.
        • MSN or Master of Science in Nursing
          Having a master’s degree is a good way for you to advance in the nursing field. Bearing a master’s degree can let you work in an office as a dean of a school or a nursing administrator.

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