Neonatal nurses work with newborns and brand new parents to ensure that the entire family is happy and healthy.
As a neonatal nurse, your job duties will depend on your employer and education level. You could assist with delivery and help new mothers (and fathers) during the first dew days of having a baby (similar to a certified nurse midwife) . However, many neonatal nurses work in intensive care units, working with newborns who were born prematurely or with other complications. In this role, you’ll support a medical team in helping to monitor unhealthy babies, treating any medical conditions they may have and encouraging healthy growth. You may also be involved with communications, keeping the family members updated with the newborn’s condition, and many neonatal nurses take an educator role, helping parents learn about home care for a baby with special needs.
Salary and Career Options
As a neonatal nurse, you can expect to earn $50,000 to $60,000 annually. Many neonatal nurses enter into this career field through first working in another infant- or child-related nursing field, or by gaining adult critical care nursing experience. Because this is a field where extra care is needed, neonatal intensive care units most commonly hire RNs rather than LPNs, and you can increase you chances of finding a high-paying job by going back to school to become an advanced practice nurse.
To work as an RN, you need at least an associate’s degree in the field, but by getting a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree, you can take classes specialized for working with infants. While you don’t need any special additional certification after you become a licensed RN to work in a neonatal intensive care unit, the American Association of Critical Care Nursing does offer certification in critical care, which you can pursue after you have some experience in the field.
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