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How Do I Become a Neonatal Nurse?

What is a Neonatal Nurse?

To become a Neonatal Nurse, individuals need extensive training and specialized education to learn to care for these tiny patients. Neonatal nurses are essential to babies that are born prematurely. The babies need assistance with several types of medical treatment to stay healthy. Some of the problems that a baby may face could include heart problems or lung development issues.


What Does a Neonatal Nurse Do?

A neonatal nurse must know how to work with various situations 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 every day. Some premature babies must stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for several weeks or months, depending on their case.


Is it Hard to be a Neonatal Nurse?

The nurses will have to learn how to communicate together, understand how to use various types of equipment, give infant care classes to parents, and deal with difficult emotional situations with the new baby’s parents or the 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. The requirements to become a neonatal nurse are more than a nursing degree.


What are the Education Requirements to Become a Neonatal Nurse?

Many individuals will go to an undergraduate nursing school before starting neonatal nursing studies. Most community or junior colleges can provide an associate degree in nursing within two years.

Other four-year institutions will offer bachelor’s degrees in nursing. When an individual wants to become a neonatal nurse, they must complete either a master’s degree or a Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree in Neonatal Nursing.


How Long Do You Have to be in College to be a Neonatal Nurse?

To receive either one of those options, the individual will need to attend school for an additional two to three years. This is through a University. Once they have completed one of those two options, they can start their neonatal nursing career.


What are the Training Requirements to Become a Neonatal Nurse?

While the individual is in school and afterward, they will go through labs that will give them real-life situations to interact with. All of this training is hands-on. The scenarios presented to the students give them an understanding of what can happen. After each scenario, the group of students get together to discuss what they did and how they could improve.

This gives the students an idea of what other decisions they could make for their patients in that 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


Can You Start Working in the NICU Right After Graduating?

Depending on the facility the nurse is working for, they may have to work in maternal nursing or general nursing for a year or two before starting working in the NICU. After a nurse has worked in the NICU for some time, they can apply for certification to show their specialties.

What other qualifications do you need to be a neonatal nurse? Certification can help nurses with getting jobs at different facilities to work in the NICU. The National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN) is an excellent resource for the most current information on certifications.


What is the Best Nursing Program for a Neonatal Nurse Career?

Some universities will offer neonatal nursing electives that nurses can take while trying to achieve their associate’s or bachelor’s degrees. This will help the nurse understand the requirements 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. Two graduate-level programs that are popular choices are the neonatal clinical nurse specialist and neonatal nurse practitioner programs.


How Can I Find Neonatal Nursing Programs?

The best way to find this information is by contacting universities to see what they offer. If more than one individual wants to attend, they narrow down those choices by the cost. 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 significant impacts on babies’ lives every day. They can help sick babies become well and allow them to live healthy lives. 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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