A neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP) is one who takes care of critically ill or premature infants in hospitals having Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). These nurses usually work in maternity or pediatric hospitals and sometimes even in the community hospitals.
These nurses focus on premature infants and deal with their health disorders. Unlike registered nurses, neonatal nurses can make their own decisions without consulting a doctor and can give orders regarding care for ill infants require. They report directly to a neonatologist or specialists looking after the sick infant.
They spend considerable time with their tiny patients and also help parents in understanding their infant's health. They also regularly update the parents about the health of their baby. Besides, they also give suggestions to the parents on how to cope with very ill kids and take care of them properly.
If you are aspiring to take up a career in neonatal nursing, then you have to fulfill certain educational requirements for a neonatal nurse. In order to be a successful nurse practitioner, one must possess qualities given here. The job is a rewarding and fulfilling work, if you enjoy working with babies and are able to manage their needs in an efficient way.
- Owing to the changing times, in order to become an NNP, a graduate level education, with specialization in the field of interest is a requisite. Some hospitals may also emphasize on the candidate holding a master's degree in neonatal nursing.
- They must be considerate towards the parents and other family members of the infant.
- In case of a critically ill patient, the nurse is required to assess all the data and the test results, so that exact diagnosis can be done and appropriate treatment be administered. It will also be helpful to keep updates regarding the rapidly changing pathophysiology of acute and critical illnesses.
- Since their job requires them to be on their toes constantly, they must not feel pressurized and must be able to continue working with the same dedication.
- Neonatal nurse practitioners should be competent to work in highly technical areas and also have the ability to work in a multidisciplinary team.
Salary and Remuneration
A lot of factors such as educational background, type of employer, and work experience determine the salary of a nurse in the neonatal department. The average salary range can vary between US $40,329 and US $99,769.
Given here is a median salary drawn by neonatal nurses based on their educational qualifications:
- Associate's Degree in Nursing - around US $67,000
- Bachelor's Degree in Nursing - around US $79,000
- Master's Degree in Nursing - around US $91,000
Neonatal nurse salaries based on years of experience are :
- 6 months to 4 years - US $66,165 - US $114,881
- 5 to 9 years - US $80,644 - US $124,217
- 10 to 19 years - US $84,631 - US $129,313
- 20+ years - US $86,629 - US $154,461
Neonatal nurse practitioners working in hospitals make around US $48,454 - US $97,308 annually, while those practicing privately make around US $23,317 to US $96,000.
The job of a neonatal nurse includes taking care of newborn babies, monitoring their health and noting changes, administering prescribed medicines at the stipulated time and also assisting parents in infant care and newborn baby nursing. Neonatal nursing specialty consists of three levels depending upon the health of the infants.
- Level I: The neonatal nurse practitioners in this level take care of normal, healthy infants. Since the mother and child now stay together in the same room after birth, the need for nurses at this level has decreased.
- Level II: In this level, the nurses take care of premature and sick babies, who need constant attention. Proper feeding and administration of medications are some of the duties performed by nurses at this level. Hence they are more in demand.
- Level III: The nurses at the third level have the highest degree of responsibilities. They mostly work in the NICUs, constantly monitor premature or seriously ill babies, check ventilators and incubators, and make sure that the babies are responding well to the treatment.
A neonatal nurse can work in a pediatrics hospital or clinic. There are many hospitals that specialize in neonatal care and there is ample opportunity to work in them. A nurse can also set up a private practice. To garner a successful stand in the career of a neonatal nurse, one must be sincere and diligent and should be dedicated towards work.