Two: Get Your Registered Nurse License
To qualify as a registered nurse, you must pass The National Council Licensure Examination . This will give you an RN license that is valid across the United States and ensure you’re ready for the next step.
The NCLEX-RN examination costs $200 and is completed in a single sitting with two optional breaks.
Earn Your Advanced Practice Nursing Licensure In Practical Nursing
The specifics for NP licensure are set by the individual states, which means that you will have to search the requirements to become an NP in the state that you plan to work in. There is also talk of a national model for NP licensure, but currently, it does vary from state-to-state. You can view complete state-by-state requirements to become an NP here and be sure to check with the school you plan on attending.
What Is The Career Outlook For Neonatal Nurses
There is a nationwide shortage of nurses that includes NICU nurses. Contributing factors to the demand include advances in life-saving medical technology for neonates and the increased use of fertility treatments, which may contribute to neonatal health complications. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates a steady 9% job growth through 2030 for registered nurses, including neonatal nurses, though the demand and employment may be higher in some parts of the country.
Ready To Start Your Career As A Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
Newborn babies are the most vulnerable version of human beings, which is a big part of why becoming a neonatal nurse practitioner is such a fulfilling career. The chance to provide treatment that helps a struggling newborn develop into a happy, bouncing baby comes with a profound joy and satisfaction thats tough to beat. And as an added bonus, neonatal nursing practitioners also earn some of the highest salaries among all nursing careers!
Ready to start taking steps toward a rewarding and well-paying career as a neonatal nurse practitioner? Click here to learn more about the BSN program at Brookline College, and start the journey toward your new career in nursing today!
Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Salaries And Job Outlook
The medical field always needs more neonatal nurse practitioners. The number of people becoming nurses continues to grow. There will be a 26 percent increase in the number of nurses by 2028. The salary of a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner ranges from $82,000 to $153,000 per year.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the highest paying states for NNPs are California, Washington, New Jersey, Minnesota, and Hawaii. Several places have a higher demand for neonatal nurse practitioners: Maine, Kansas, Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi. Before signing up for any job, be sure to check on the cost of living, benefits, and tuition reimbursement options.
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What Is The Difference Between An Ob Gyn And A Nurse Practitioner
While an OB-GYN is a doctor who specializes in female reproductive health, pregnancy, and childbirth, an NP is a highly trained nurse with expertise in not only women’s health, but also general practice. … An OB-GYN will usually require their patients see a primary care physician in addition to being under their care.
Required Neonatal Nursing Education
Neonatal nurses must hold at least a diploma or associate degree in nursing. Because of NICU patients’ vulnerability and the complexities of their medical situations, many employers require neonatal nurses to hold a bachelor’s degree at a minimum.
NICU nurses also typically pursue specialized certificates in neonatal pediatric transport, advanced cardiovascular life support, or electronic fetal monitoring. Holding one or more NICU-related certificates can make a neonatal nurse more competitive in the job market.
Nurses who want to specialize, earn more money, or take on leadership roles should consider graduate study. By pursuing a master’s degree or doctorate in nursing, neonatal nurses can advance to providing primary care for their patients as nurse practitioners .
Becoming an NP requires experience in NICU patient care along with graduate education and other licensure requirements. A master’s degree can also equip neonatal nurses to become nurse midwives, who usually earn higher salaries than registered nurses.
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Where Do Neonatal Nurses Work
Neonatal nurses typically end up working in a neonatal intensive care unit of a clinic, hospital or medical center. The level of care youll be responsible for administering will depend on the type of facility where youre employed.
For example, if you work in a Level II NICU in a community hospital, your infant patients will likely require help with breathing, feeding or with medications. If you get hired as a neonatal nurse at larger medical center or childrens hospital, youll likely work in a Level III NICU where your patients require far more sophisticated care. In some instances, you may be required to provide home care or follow-up visits to high-risk patients.
S To Becoming A Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
Professionals aiming to practice as NNPs can review the following steps including educational, licensing, and certification information to accomplish their career goals.
cost of NP neonatal program-NCLEX pass rate. A neonatal nurse is a specially trained nurses who has spent plenty of time in the NICU and provides care for newborn children. These nurses are instrumental for successful and crucial treatment of premature babies who come to the hospital pre-term. The training for these nurses take quite a bit of time and after graduation they must pass a comprehensive test before becoming licensed.
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Master’s Degree In Nursing
Master’s degrees in nursing are popular options for those seeking opportunities for advancement and higher earning potential. Programs typically take two to three years to complete, depending upon how much time a student is able to devote to their studies. Most graduate degree level students are working full-time, making online programs a popular option.
Below is a brief list of courses students may encounter during a master’s program in nursing. These classes are typically offered in traditional settings, online platforms, or hybrid programs.
Advanced Neonatal Health Assessment
Focus on how to perform an accurate gestational age and health assessment, including pertinent data to collect, identification of potential diagnostic tests necessary, and taking parental health histories.
Skills & Knowledge Gained
- Knowledge of how certain drugs affect neonates
- Ability to choose correct drugs and properly administer them
Essential Components of the NICU
A study of the practical applications of nursing knowledge in NICUs, including essential nursery skills, resuscitation, assessment, and laboratory analysis.
Skills & Knowledge Gained
- Development of basic NICU skills, including procedures commonly used for neonates and those with perilous health problems
- Ability to apply practical knowledge in clinical practice
Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Program Requirements
Though every Neonatal Nurse Practitioner degree program is different, most have similar entry requirements, which generally include:
- A minimum of two years of nursing experience in a Level III NICU
- Satisfactory completion of an accredited baccalaureate program with at least 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale
- Submission of official transcripts from all postsecondary schools attended
- Unencumbered, active RN license in state of practice
- Two or three professional references
- Completion of undergraduate statistics with a grade of C or better
- Professional resume or curriculum vitae
- Successful completion of a personal interview with the Nursing Admissions Committee
- GRE if applicable
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Where Might You Work
After you graduate from your nursing program and earn your certificate or licensure, youll work in a hospital. The population of newborn babies youll be working with are those sick enough to be taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit .
The NICU is its own hospital department the infants who are brought here are either premature, suffering from birth defects, recovering from surgery, or dealing with a complication. If one of these babies comes back to NICU after discharge, you may take care of them off and on until they are two years old. Expect to be certified within neonatal intensive care or neonatal .
In the NICU, youll be under the supervision of a neonatologist, monitor the infants vital signs, ensure that all equipment works correctly, and keep parents up-to-date on their babys progress. You may hook critically ill infants up to life-saving technology and give them comfort when they are in pain.
NICU and PICU are similar, but NICU takes care of sick infants only. If this is your passion, then seek out the information you need.
One: Earn A Bachelor’s Degree
The first step to becoming a neonatal nurse practitioner is to acquire a bachelor’s degree in nursing . This should take you around 4 years to complete and will teach you about practical and theoretical nursing, moving you a giant step forward in your nursing career.
If you already have an associate’s degree in nursing , you can complete a bridge program to fast-track your way to an advanced nursing degree.
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Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Certification
Eligibility Requirements: Active RN license, masters degree or higher from a graduate nurse practitioner program.Fees: $325 for application and testing.Renewal: Certifications must be renewed every three years the renewal fee is $100.
Information on the NCC certification for neonatal nurse practitioner was retrieved as of October 2021. For the most up-to-date information, refer to NCCs website.
Level Two: Special Care Nursery
In addition to having all of the capabilities of level 1 facilities, these advanced facilities have specialized equipment and are staffed with neonatal nurse practitioners.
Level 2 facilities care for newborn infants born after 32 weeks and weighing 1,500 grams or more. They are moderately ill and in need of regular and highly specialized care.
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Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Skills
Neonatal nurse practitioners must be highly observant. Unlike many other hospital patients, newborn babies cant push a call button or otherwise communicate with their healthcare professionals, which means they must be closely monitored at all times. The ability to think and act quickly in emergency situations is paramount for NNPs, as youll be depended upon to supervise potentially life-saving interventions if a newborn is experiencing serious issues. Finally, a strong sense of empathy and solid interpersonal skills are essential for neonatal nurse practitioners, as youll be spending plenty of time with parents who are understandably anxious about the health of their newborn babies.
Do Nicu Nurses Deliver Babies
NICU nurses who are assigned to the birth of a newborn may assist in the delivery of the baby. Their responsibilities include:
Weighing and measuring the baby upon birth
Monitoring the health of the newborn
Providing support to the medical team and family
Educating new parents about newborn care and breastfeeding
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What Degree Do You Need To Be A Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
Like any of the other top-paying nursing specialties, becoming a neonatal nurse practitioner requires investing significant time into gaining the necessary education and work experience. Your neonatal nurse practitioner education will start with earning your Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from an accredited college or university. Traditionally, earning a BSN requires a full four years in school, but thanks to some accelerated BSN programs, you could finish your nursing degree in as little as 32 months! Like other APRN careers, youll also need to earn a Master of Science in Nursing degree before you can become a certified nurse practitioner.
Any long-term goal seems much more attainable when you break it down into individual steps, and becoming a neonatal nurse practitioner is no different.
Heres a step-by-step guide to the education, experience, and certifications youll need to become a neonatal nurse practitioner :
Required Credentials For Neonatal Nurses
All registered nurses including neonatal nurses must hold licensure. Each state sets its own requirements for obtaining a nursing license. Once licensed, nurses can pursue certification in specialty areas. Neonatal nurses can obtain certification in critical care or intensive care to strengthen their skills in the NICU specialty.
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How Much Do Neonatal Nurses Make
How much a NICU nurse makes depends on the level of education, experience, and location. Neonatal RNs and certified critical care NICU nurses earn a $77,600 annual median salary, and NICU-NPs earn $120,680. There is also a significant difference in salaries between nurses with a BSN versus an MSN.
Some parts of the U.S. may also pay higher than others. For example, RNs and NICU-NPs earn more than the national average in the following states:
Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Job Description
NNPs provide comprehensive well-child and acute care to infants and young children. Other duties may include:
- Assessing and managing the health of the infant, including ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests
- Collaborating with physicians and pediatric healthcare providers to provide ongoing care for infants in the hospital, including working with families to develop a post-discharge care plan
- Monitoring the progress of the infants health and adjusting the treatment plan as needed
- Administering medications and treatments, including giving injections and performing intravenous therapy
- Providing education to parents and caregivers about the infants health condition, how to care for the infant at home, and what signs and symptoms to watch for
What Will Your Workdays Be Like As A Neonatal Nurse
Because of the fragile systems and round-the-clock needs your patients in the NICU will require, most neonatal nurses can expect to work 8 to 12-hour shifts. Weekends and holidays will also factor into your work schedule.
A typical day will have you providing highly specialized care for premature babies and very ill newborns. They may require anything from respiratory care to being fed through an IV to ensure their bodies become strong enough to sustain themselves and increase their chances of survival. On any given day, you may also be tasked with:
- Keeping infants clean, warm and comfortable.
- Monitoring vital signs like respiration and body temperature.
- Weighing and measuring infants until they are discharged to go home.
- Formulating neonatal nursing care plans with other healthcare providers on your team, including neonatologists and doctors.
- Assessing, planning and implementing treatment.
- Administering medication.
- Working with modern, lifesaving technology and performing complex procedures.
- Providing comfort, education and reassurance to concerned parents and family members.
- Performing CPR and basic life support should it become necessary.
Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Schooling
According to the American Nurses Association , a nurse practitioner is an advanced practice registered nurse who has graduated from an accredited Master of Science in Nursing , Doctor of Nursing Practice, or post-masters NNP program who is certified in a specialty area and is able to practice independent of physician supervision. The ANA further states that the NPs scope of practice will be based on their certification and state law. It is within this framework that neonatal nurse practitioners are educated and certified.
The typical route to becoming an NNP is to first become a registered nurse with a bachelors degree in nursing. Then, the RN can pursue an advanced degree in nursing, such as a Master of Science in Nursing with a specialization in neonatal nursing. After completing an accredited program, the RN must pass a certification exam from the National Certification Corporation .
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Online Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Programs
Online programs have grown in popularity due in great part to their convenience, allowing busy students to take courses from the comfort of their own homes. Students should keep in mind, however, that some online programs may require minimal on-campus visits, and that clinical rotations must be completed in person.
What Do Neonatal Nurses Do
Neonatal nurses care for premature and fragile neonates, usually in hospitals. While the word neonatal itself refers to the first few weeks of a babys life, neonatal nurses often care for babies long after, depending on the severity of an infants condition and response to treatment. Longer NICU stays may be due to the degree of prematurity, sepsis, profound congenital disabilities, and cardiac issues. Neonates requiring care are admitted to the NICU immediately after birth. In most facilities, neonates who return to the hospital after discharge will go to a pediatric unit if care is required.
The neonatal population is often categorized by levels of acuity and care needs within the NICU, as some neonatal patients have a much greater need for treatment and oversight than others. Roles in these facilities represent some of the most sought-after positions in the field.
The levels of neonatal nursing care and responsibilities include:
A typical neonatal nurses day might be spent administering medication, feeding neonates, and educating new mothers. As with any nursing career, the neonatal nurse experiences emergencies and must perform life-saving measures.
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