Obtaining a bachelor’s degree in nursing may give prospective nurses more employment opportunities and increased income. At a minimum, you need to meet these requirements: 1. A graduate program is required to achieve a higher level of responsibility as a neonatal nurse practitioner. It’s also important to consider the level of compensation one can expect in the neonatal nursing field. Thanks to advances in medicine, highly skilled NICU nurses, and other healthcare professionals, survival rates are improving. Of course, a higher level of education may be rewarded with a higher salary or more promotional opportunities. The salary of the Neonatal Nurse ranges from between $66,640 – $98,880 annually, depending on experience, educational degree and job location. This is a very popular area of nursing. These patients need to be cared for and monitored, sometimes for weeks or months, until they are hopefully healthy and developed enough to go home. Prospective neonatal nurses should consider that a NICU can be a stressful work environment. The training to become a Neonatal Nurse requires you to be a Registered Nurse. Annual In-State Tuition: $11,100 Annual Out-of-State Tuition: $30,510. The Academy of Neonatal Nursing: Provides quality neonatal education and programs to all newborn health care professionals. If there are serious medical issues, the more experienced NICU nurses in a team might focus on just one or two cases. Students enjoy clinicals at great sites, including Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Generally speaking, working in a NICU is considered level three nursing care (level one is care for healthy infants, and level two is for less serious neonatal cases). Positive rapport, patience, and interpersonal communication skills will be indispensable for neonatal nurses in a non-hospital setting. To maintain a CCRN (Neonatal) certification, you have to complete 100 Continuing Education Recognition Points (CERPs. Home and community neonatal nurses provide direct care, but their work may involve more patient parent education than the NICU nurse's work. This allows the nurse to train in the specialty as a student. The ongoing advice and guidance of a medical professional are indispensable to families who find themselves in this situation. Before students can become neonatal nurses, they must first become a registered nurse. A neonatal nurse might address complications of prematurity, acute infection, congenital defects, and surgery. Other nursing professionals may opt for neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP) credentials, which require completion of a master of science in Nursing (MSN) program. On top of the low in-state tuition rate, students can also secure financial aid and scholarships. NICU nurses play perhaps one of the most important roles in our health care system in that they are there when life begins, and are often instrumental in helping high-risk newborns survive and thrive. Advanced practice requires at least a master’s degree. Aspiring neonatal nurses can obtain this certification from national certifying bodies such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center or National Certification Corporation. Complete a bachelor’s degree: For those wondering how to become a neonatal nurse practitioner, education is the first step—a bachelor’s or associate's degree in nursing the backbone to start the NNP journey. After gaining experience, neonatal RNs can apply for certification as a Critical Care Registered Nurse in neonatal care (CCRN [neonatal]).Many neonatal nurses opt to enroll in a graduate nursing program in order to work at a higher level of responsibility. In other situations, new parents may seek out neonatal nursing care to guide them through the process of early parenthood, even with healthy neonates. It takes a special person to become a nurse, but that's even more true for those who go on to become Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nurses. When it comes to salary ranges for nursing, a good rule of thumb is to understand how much RNs earn, and then estimate that the compensation will be slightly higher for the specialization. States and employers require contact hours and clinical education credits in order for nurses to stay current in the ever-evolving health sciences. These degrees must be earned from an accredited nursing program. A neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP) is a highly skilled, highly educated advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) who is responsible for providing specialized care to newborn infants who are experiencing a broad range of acuity and states of health, including prematurity, low birth weight, infections, genetic disorders, congenital heart abnormalities, and respiratory problems. This type of work usually takes place in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where premature or sick babies are given intensive medical care. In order to get into a graduate nursing program (which you will need for your training in a neonatal specialty), many programs will require at least a 3.3 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) as well as a grade of B or better in all science and nursing courses. Students who enroll in the BSN learn important nursing skills with an emphasis placed on cultural awareness and community involvement. To become a neonatal nurse, you must first be a registered nurse (RN) and/or midwife, both of which require the completion of a Bachelor of Nursing & Midwifery. How Many Patients Does a NICU Nurse Work With? For neonatal nurses working in the community or in patients' homes, a different set of skills may be necessary. Find out more about what it takes to become a NICU nurse, and why those who choose this track, are doing society a special service. After that, they can enroll for an MSN degree or a DNP program with a specialty in Neonatal Nursing. Entry-level requirements vary by location. In other words, nurses who go on to careers in the NICU are equipped with a skill set that will be in demand for years to come. All registered professional nurses undergo general nursing education, the dictates of which are determined by accrediting authorities for all nursing curriculum. 4. It does take a specialized set of skills–beyond just medical ones–to work in the NICU. According to a 2013 study in JAMA Pediatrics journal, nearly one-third of infants in NICUs are understaffed. A: Becoming a neonatal nurse like all other professions would require proper education before you can be in the practical field. A typical neonatal nurse’s day might be spent administering medication,feeding neonates, and educating new mothers. Many programs require that you have a bachelor’s degree of some type to start NNP school, but some allow you to bridge from your associate’s degree to the graduate degree. Developmental care is a potential area for career advancement. Clinical sites include many of the best regional healthcare facilities, including Pitt's own UMPC Children's. Neonatal Nurse Practitioners have completed either a Master's or Doctorate level of education and become certified. It’s important to remember that this represents the median earnings, so depending on one’s level of experience, location, and employer, income can be higher (or lower). Nursing programs prepare graduates to work as registered nurses. It is necessary to obtain an undergraduate education before becoming a neonatal registered nurse. Students can choose from various BSN routes, though most students choose the traditional BSN, a two-year program that accepts students who completed two years of prerequisite courses. First, an individual must graduate from nursing school with at least an associate degree. For NICU nurses specifically, that demand may even be slightly greater. These degree programs typically require extensive hours of clinical experience. For a more advanced scope of practice, a nurse can become a neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP). The median neonatal nurse practitioner wage is $53.10 per hour or $98,559 for salaried workers. In addition to the option of graduate education, there are abundant resources for pursuing continuing education as an RN. Annual In-State Tuition: $14,651 Annual Out-of-State Tuition: $29,921. BSN students earn over 900 hours of clinical experience through rotations and labs, and those interested in neonatal nursing could gain experience at Texas Children's Hospital. The university also happens to be private, meaning students don't get access to discounted tuition rates. Opting for an MSN degree from an accredited institution will cost you between $37,000 to $40,000. Aspiring neonatal nurses may want to seek out a nursing school that offers clinical practicum placements within a nursery or NICU. It's also required to become licensed. To become a licensed RN, you will have to take and pass the National Council Licensure Exam or NCLEX. Depending on which school you attend some colleges and universities will have neonatal elective credit courses you can take. Because neonatal nurses work primarily with some of the most vulnerable patients, they’re required to attain strict credentials. For this reason, many NICU’s offer overtime to nurses and require higher patient to nurse ratios. In order to become a neonatal nurse, a candidate must meet the minimum educational requirements for all nurses. They also administer medications, record the newborn’s progress and recovery, change diapers, and calm babies in distress. According to the National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN), there are approximately 40,000 low-birth-weight infants born each year in the United States. For example, nurses in urban areas tend to have a higher salary than rural nurses. Graduates could end up finding a position at UMPC Children's or other great spots in the area. With over 40,000 infants born with low birth weight, the need for nurses who have the skills and knowledge to care for extremely vulnerable babies is getting higher year by year.. A neonatal nurse is a Registered Nurse that works in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and assesses, monitors, and cares for medically fragile newborns.In addition to caring for premature newborns, NICU nurses may care for medically complex infants up to one year of age in some facilities. The cost of this private school is steep, but BSN students would have a hard time finding a better program. Training often takes place at the doctoral level. With over 46,000 students, the University of Houston is one of the largest on this list. Graduates require licensure to work as a registered nurse, after which they can begin applying for careers in neonatal nursing. Those planning on becoming NICU nurses could benefit from the great clinical locations, including the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the nation's first-ever hospital devoted entirely to children. As such, the BLS projects that the employment of registered nurses should grow 12 percent from 2018 to 2028. Neonatal intensive care nursing certification requires individuals to complete and pass a competency-based examination, hold RN licensure, and finish at least two years of professional experience in providing care to acutely and critically ill neonatal patients. Neonatal nurses are usually in high demand due to understaffing in NICUs. Annual In-State Tuition: $11,745 Annual Out-of-State Tuition: $39,114. Neonatal nurses have the option of pursuing master's or doctoral level clinical education to expand their scope of practice as neonatal nurse practitioners (NNPs). Overall, OSU offers relatively low tuition rates for a great education, making this a good pick for anyone looking to become a neonatal nurse. Neonatal nursing is a great career path for medical professionals who want to make a difference in the lives of entire families. With its main campus located in downtown Denver, the University of Colorado Denver is the state's only public, urban research institution. Upon qualifying as a registered nurse, neonatal nursing applicants can seek out positions in the NICU. After a period of six months of relevant experience, you’ll be encouraged to undertake professional development. Strong communication skills and a calm, empathetic demeanor are key. A private, Ivy League school located in Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania might have the best all-around nursing school in the nation. 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