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How do I become a Neonatal Nurse?

neonatal nurse

Neonatal nurses are essential to babies that are born prematurely. The babies need assistance to several types of medical treatment to ensure they stay healthy. Some of the problems that a baby may face could include heart problems or lung development issues. The nurses will have to know how to work with various types of situations that are considered high risk. They will have to be able to work efficiently and quickly to give the baby what they need and ensure they continue to get healthier everyday. Some premature babies have to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for several weeks or even months depending on their case.

The nurses will have to learn how to communicate together, understand how to use various types of equipment, give infant care classes to parents, deal with difficult emotional situations with the new babies parents or death of an infant. The nurses will often see the parents and will need to provide updates regarding each baby they take care of. This way the parents understand how their baby is doing and the next steps necessary to get the baby closer to being healthy enough to go home. There are requirements needed in order to become a neonatal nurse compared to just getting a nursing degree.

What are the Requirements Needed to Become a Neonatal Nurse
Many individuals will go to an undergraduate school for nursing before they start neonatal nursing studies. Most community or junior colleges can provide a associate degree for nursing within two years. Other four-year institutions will offer bachelor’s degrees for nursing. When an individual wants to become a neonatal nurse, they will need to complete either a master’s degree or Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree in Neonatal Nursing. In order to receive either one of those options, the individual will need to attend school for an additional two to three years. This can be completed through an University. Once they have completed one of those two options, they will be able to start towards their neonatal nursing career.

Training Requirements
While the individual is in school and afterwards, they will go through labs that will give them real-life situations to interact with. All of this training is done hands-on. The scenarios that will be presented to the students will give them an understanding of what can really happen. After each scenario has been played out, the group of students will then get together to go over what they did and how they could improve. This gives the students an idea of what other types of decisions they could make for their patient in that type of situation. They will also work with current nurses and Doctors to see what more they should have done during that scenario and to have all their questions answered. The real-life scenarios done in the lab will give the individuals an understanding of the importance of reacting quickly and efficiently.

Depending on the facility the nurse if working for, they may have to work maternal nursing or general nursing for a year or two before they will start working in the NICU. After a nurse has been working in the NICU for a period of time, they can apply for certification to show their specialties. Certification can help nurses with getting jobs at different facilities to work in the NICU.

How to Find the Perfect School for Neonatal Nurse Career Choice
Some universities will offer neonatal nursing electives that a nurse can take while they are trying to achieve their associates or bachelor degree. This will help the nurse to start becoming familiar with what is required to be a neonatal nurse and get them on the right path. The university may also offer the master’s degree they need to fulfill the career choice they want. The best way to find this information out is by contacting different universities to see what they offer. If there are more than one the individual is interested in attending, they can narrow down those choices by the cost that is required for the schooling. This way they can help save money and still become the neonatal nurse they want to be. Most schools will offer financial help that the student can seek to ensure they get the schooling they need to be a neonatal nurse.

Neonatal nurses make great impacts on babies lives everyday. They can help sick babies become well and give them an opportunity to live a healthy life. Since babies can often be born early, it is essential to have nurses trained and available to work in the NICU.


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