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How to Become a Neonatal Nurse?

A neonatal nurse is a specialized nurse who focuses on the care of newborn infants including care for the healthy infants, premature or ill newborns, or work intensively for seriously sick newborns in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

A neonatal nurse must be a Registered Nurse (RN) with a 4-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree (BSN). The neonatal nurses also must be certified in Neonatal Resuscitation and/or Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing. Besides the degree and certification, neonatal nurses also need to have a minimum number of years of clinical experience in hospital.

Registered Nurse Salary

Before enrolling an RN degree, students should complete two years in ADN or four years in BSN. After completing the degree, the students must take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam to get the RN license. Due to the qualified education, an RN has a good salary. Based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics current Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for registered nurse is $68,450. It may vary depending on the years of experience, location, field and other various factors.

Labor and Delivery Nurse Salary

Let’s compare the salary with labor and delivery nurse. Labor and delivery nurses have specialties in helping baby delivery and getting moms through the process. They work in hospitals, clinics, or birthing centers. The median annual salary for the nurses falls around $67,490 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2015. Still, it depends on the location and the institution.

NICU Nurse Job Description

Here is the overview of NICU nurses’ job description:

  • Administering medications
  • Monitoring vital signs
  • Providing vital nutrients to newborns
  • Ensure that infants are breathing and maturing properly. In the case of sick or premature newborns
  • Maintain and update the records of the patient’s care
  • Communicate with the parents as well as educate them on daily operations and home-care procedures

The point is the NICU nurses serve the critical care to sick and premature newborns. They also offer support to the parents through the emotional encouragement until advising the parents how to take care of the infant when they are home. Their main responsibility is to ensure that a newborn’s critical care treatment is safe and secure.

Neonatal Nursing Education Requirements

There is a minimum degree neonatal nurses, that is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. There is no undergraduate specialization in neonatal intensive care, so that the programs should be completed with the clinical experience and internship within the NICU in a hospital.

Most graduate programs require several years of real-life work experience in a NICU for admission to the neonatal intensive care program. Additionally, the nurses must take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination or NCLEX for becoming licensed registered nurses. NICU nurses should also have certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR.

In detail here are the educational paths of the neonatal nurses:

  • Diploma program: 2-3 years
  • ADN(AssociateDegreeinNursing): 2-3 years
  • BSN(Bachelor’sDegree): 1-4 years
  • MSN(Master’sDegreeinNursing): 2-3 years, beyond the bachelor’s level
  • DNP(DoctorofNursingPractice): 1-2 years beyond the master’s level

How Much Does a Neonatal Nurse Make an Hour

Becoming a neonatal nurse will make you earn a great number of money due to the skills and training, even at the entry level. Usually the salaries grow along with the experience. Based on the survey in April 2019, here are the neonatal nurses salary ranges per hour based on their experience:

  • Entry level: $32.25 – $55.85
  • Mid-career: $37.60 – $63.32
  • Experienced: $43.56 – $62.70
  • Late-career: $24.90 – $5.50

You can see that the neonatal nurse outlook is very positive and the occupation is predicted to increase to 56,100 nurse practitioner jobs. Study and gain your degree well, the bright future will be coming your way.