Neonatal nursing is a branch of healthcare that focuses on providing care for infants who are born prematurely or are suffering from health problems such as birth defects, infections, or heart deformities. Depending on the status of the patients and how many babies are born in a given period of time, NICU nurses usually work with just a few infants at a time. Neonatal nurses care for premature and often fragile neonates. If you are seriously considering being a neonatal nurse, it’s important that you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. In addition, registered nurse employment is expected to grow 15% between 2016 and 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Level IV: This is the most intense level of newborn care for babies born with serious birth defects. This can either be through classes at your university or a special nursing program after you finish your degree. After becoming an RN, it is necessary for aspiring neonatal nurses to have neonatal clinical experience, as well as certifications in the field. 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. For many NICU nurses, an affinity for this unique patient population mitigates much of the work-related stress. You must be certified in Neonatal Resuscitation and/or Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing. Registered nurses (RNs) with a particular interest in newborns may consider neonatal nursing as a career option. This could help students gain early NICU exposure, preparing them for their future careers. Known for its great location and excellent sports, the University of California Los Angeles also has some of the top academic programs in the region, including its BSN. On top of the low in-state tuition rate, students can also secure financial aid and scholarships. 2. A neonatal nurse is a registered nurse who specializes in working with newborn patients. Neonatal Nurse Practitioners have completed either a Master's or Doctorate level of education and become certified. 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. Neonatal nurses can benefit from continuing education. The slowest way to become an RN or a neonatal nurse is via a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. Annual In-State Tuition: $13,239 Annual Out-of-State Tuition: $42,993. Also, all NE region residents receive a discounted tuition rate, so students in the area should consider this program. 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. Here are the steps you need to take: There are a couple of different routes you can take: This list is based on a number of factors including: Our selection panel is made up of 3 Registered Nurses with years of experience and multiple degrees: There are numerous registered nursing programs and our panel of nurses ranked them based on factors mentioned in the methodology. 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. It's also required to become licensed. 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. 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. To maintain a CCRN (Neonatal) certification, you have to complete 100 Continuing Education Recognition Points (CERPs. In order to become a neonatal nurse, a candidate must meet the minimum educational requirements for all nurses. 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. Graduates of the program end up in a variety of positions, including neonatal nursing. How to Become a Neonatal Nurse. 3. Licensure involves passing the NCLEX and registering with the state in which the nurse practices. In addition, because the patients are so tiny and even the smallest error can be life-threatening, a precise attention to detail cannot be understated. The median neonatal nurse practitioner wage is $53.10 per hour or $98,559 for salaried workers. It does take a specialized set of skills–beyond just medical ones–to work in the NICU. The second step involves passing an exam known as the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX-RN. To become a neonatal intensive care nurse, you first must be a registered nurse (RN) with either an Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN). In order to become a neonatal nurse, a candidate must meet the minimum educational requirements for all nurses. 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. However, if you become a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, your salary could reach upwards of $105,220 per year. It is necessary to obtain an undergraduate education before becoming a neonatal registered nurse. Experienced neonatal nurses can apply for positions as developmental care specialists, clinical care specialists, nurse managers, or neonatal nurse practitioners. Advanced practice requires at least a master’s degree. Applicants should also look for a school that will provide them with guidance to help them pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), which is necessary for licensure. This will usually involve specific training modules on different aspects of neonatal nursing. The early exposure to working with children and UCLA's location could help graduates secure an NICU position in California. One of the most common workplaces is a NICU, which is a separate ward within a hospital. Additional certifications that all NICU nurses should pursue include: Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), Only ACEN or CCNE accredited schools are eligible. The small size might make the nursing school more exclusive, but Xavier's 98% of graduates find a healthcare role within six months of graduating. For example, nurses in urban areas tend to have a higher salary than rural nurses. The BSN allows for direct-entry, and students begin clinicals during their first year. Step 5: Become certified by a national certification agency. NANN: Represents the community of neonatal nurses and influences standards of practice through advocacy, education, networking, collaboration, and leadership. In order to become a neonatal nurse, one must first become an RN holding either an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). The National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) examination must also be passed, as well as any local steps to obtain state licensure. As you gain more experience, you might be able to apply for jobs as a nurse consultant. You need to be a registered adult nurse, child nurse or midwife to apply for a job as a neonatal nurse. Neonatal nurses are responsible for providing care and treatment for vulnerable babies, usually in a hospital setting. A valid nursing program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). However, in most cases, when working for a hospital or medical facility, nurses receive a generous benefits package to go along with salary. Also, the university might place students in clinicals at Children's Hospital Colorado, a top-ranked children's hospital. These degrees must be earned from an accredited nursing program. A graduate program is required to achieve a higher level of responsibility as a neonatal nurse practitioner. Despite the university's large size, OSU's BSN program is highly competitive, particularly for Ohio residents looking to secure in-state tuition. Graduates require licensure to work as a registered nurse, after which they can begin applying for careers in neonatal nursing. There are many types of nursing specialties, some of which deal with a particular type of patient. Work experience is the main source of specialization in neonatal care, often with the aid of continuing education credits. There are three main steps to becoming a neonatal nurse. 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). They can earn registered nurse (RN) licensure with either an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor of science of nursing (BSN). Another way to advance in the career is to become a nurse practitioner by earning a master's degree. These are country-wide medians, though income for nurses is greatly dependent on state, institution and community. The training to become a Neonatal Nurse requires you to be a Registered Nurse. The highest paying states for NICU nurses according to ZipRecruiter are: It’s fair to say that NICU nurses–and in all areas of nursing–salary is commensurate with experience, and large cities and well-known medical institutions will pay higher salaries. 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. This certification requires applicants to have a current RN license and at least 24 months of experience in the field. To become a neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP), you will also need a Master of Science in Nursing (… A Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Nurses and Neonatal Nurse Practitioners are similar roles, but the difference is in the education requirements and scope of practice. Individuals can follow a few different educational pathways in order to become a newborn nurse. 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. In fact the survival rate is now 10 times better than it was 15 years ago. The program uses a cohort system, so nursing students work closely with one another. However, students enrolled in the BSN will attend courses at CU Denver's nearby campus in Aurora. * Second, get a job as a nurse, hopefully in an acute care setting. The best opportunities will be in large hospitals that have a full-fledged NICU department that provides both level II and level III care. Perhaps best known for its research degrees, UW still boasts an excellent BSN program that sees students complete over 1,000 clinical hours at sites across the region. A private, Ivy League school located in Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania might have the best all-around nursing school in the nation. This requires a master’s degree or doctoral degree, additional clinical training, and board certification. A day in the life of a NICU nurse is demanding and can range from basic newborn care to monitoring seriously ill patients. The salary of the Neonatal Nurse ranges from between $66,640 – $98,880 annually, depending on experience, educational degree and job location. Neonatal nurses are usually in high demand due to understaffing in NICUs. 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. While the word “neonatal” itself refers to the first few weeks of a baby’s life, neonatal nurses often care for babies long after they have surpassed that time frame, if such extended care is warranted. Annual In-State Tuition: $14,651 Annual Out-of-State Tuition: $29,921. To become a Neonatal Nurse, either an associate's degree in nursing or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is required. The Ohio State University, a top public university located in Columbus, enrolls over 68,000 students, making it the largest school on this list. Like other RNs, NICU nurses work under a Scope of Practice, a set of state laws that define your rights and responsibilities as a nurse, and authorize you on how to function when providing various aspects of medical care. Founded in 1787, the University of Pittsburgh now teaches nearly 23,500 undergraduate students. In most facilities, neonates who return to the hospital after discharge from birth will go to a pediatric unit if care is required. Nursing students complete the first two years of the BSN in Houston, followed by two years at the Katy instructional site. Neonates requiring care are admitted to the NICU immediately after birth. Professors and specialists most likely will need a doctoral degree. The first step to becoming a neonatal nurse is to acquire the appropriate level of education. Working as a neonatal nurse can involve practicing in a variety of different settings. 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