Neonatal nurses are professionals that provide care for infants that are born premature. They specialise in treating infants born with health problems such as infections, birth defects, or heart deformities. They usually work with infants but can also work with children into their toddlerhood. They are trained to deal with infants and in taking care of them while also knowing procedures such as blood drawing, intravenous infusions, and administering oxygen.
The Career of Neonatal Nurses
Neonatal nurses have numerous different tasks from changing diapers to medication administration. They work in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Each nurse usually can monitor up to 4 infants at a time. Working with the infant until they are discharged, if they need home care then they are authorised to provide that also. Neonatal nurses can get additional certification to allow them to work with the surgical team or even provide assistance during delivery situations with high-risk.
Becoming a Neonatal Nurse
In order to become a neonatal nurse, an individual must first become a registered nurse. You have the following different paths to becoming a RN:
- Diploma from a hospital-based school
- Associate degree
- Bachelor’s degree at a 4 year college
Once you complete the education, you will need to become licensed by sitting and passing the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).
After becoming a registered nurse, you can take up internship working in NICU to get a bit of experience. The number of years of experience varies but the more experience you have the better chances of becoming a neonatal nurse. You can gain certification in this period also through National Certification Corporation (NCC) for various neonatal credentials. After your RN credentials it usually takes another 2-3 years to perfect the neonatal skills required and become an actual neonatal nurse.