Education Career Articles

Connect Facebook Connect Twitter Connect Google+ Connect Pinterest Connect Stumbleupon

Neonatal Nurse – Job Duties, Education and Salary Information

Career News October 17, 2013

Overview

Neonatal nursing professionals have challenging and rewarding careers that involve working with newborn infants who may be struggling with various health problems. This job can offer a strong salary and rewarding day-to-day experiences to individuals who have the proper education requirements, who enjoy working with infants and who are able to work well in high-pressure situations.

Many nurses will initially work as staff nurses who provide essential and direct care to newborn babies who may be struggling with prematurity, infections, birth defects or other health issues. Neonatal nurses who start off as staff nurses certainly have opportunities to advance to other positions, such as neonatal nurse practitioners, nurse managers, clinical nurse specialists and nurse educators.

Work Environment and Job Duties

While most neonatal nurses work in the neonatal intensive care unite (NICU) of hospitals, there are some opportunities for these professionals to work as home care nurses who provide follow up care for infants in special circumstances.

It’s common for nurses in hospitals to work 12-hour shifts, although some workplaces will offer shorter shifts and other options. Because patients and babies need care at all times of day, neonatal nurses may have to work on holidays, on the weekends and during night shifts.

A neonatal nurse’s primary function is to provide care for ill infants. This care may involve administering medication, changing diapers, feeding, keeping records of the babies’ progress and communicating these details with other members of the healthcare team.

In addition to caring for the infants who are in the NICU, neonatal nurses often work closely with the parents and family members of babies. They may need to explain a health situation to the families, teach new parents how to take care of their infants or provide valuable emotional support.

Neonatal nursing professionals can also receive additional training so they can take part in more complex procedures, including heart-lung bypasses, stabilization care or transport. Some nurses who advance to leadership roles will be responsible for hiring, training, managing and carrying out a variety of high-level administrative duties for the entire NICU nursing staff.

Requirements and Education

Prospective neonatal nurses will need to complete several educational requirements so they can work as nurses. First, each candidate must earn a nursing diploma, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing or an Associate of Science in Nursing. For most students, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing can be completed in 4 years and the Associate of Science in Nursing or the nursing diploma can be completed in 2 or 3 years.

Prospective nurses must also pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to receive their nursing licenses. Some states have additional requirements, so all nursing students should consult the board of nursing in their individual states.

In addition to these obtaining educational requirements, the National Association of Neonatal Nurses notes that new graduates should seek out work in a hospital with a NICU and should express strong interest in joining the staff of that unit. Many hospitals will provide additional training that shows new nursing graduates how to care for infants.

Salary and Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the nursing field has a positive employment outlook. From 2010 to 2020 the number of job opportunities are expected to increase by 26%, which is faster than the average rate of growth across all occupations.

The BLS also reports that the median pay for nurses is $64,690, with the lowest earning 10% receiving salaries of less than $44,190 and the highest earning 10% receiving salaries higher than $95,130. The median wage varies depending on whether nurses are working in private hospitals or public hospitals.

Despite the potentially demanding schedules nurses often work, many hospitals provide benefits like childcare, educational benefits and flexible scheduling options.

Working as a neonatal nurse is a rewarding career choice for people who enjoy helping others, working with families and providing care to ill babies. In addition to strong salaries and excellent job outlook for the nursing profession overall, neonatal nurses have the ability to work on specialized teams and receive further training and years of experience that will allow them to advance to higher-level roles.

Showing schools in your area

Matching School Ads
5 Program(s) Found
  • Do you aspire to fulfill an evolving healthcare role as a highly-qualified nursing professional? GCU is the place for you.
  • RNs, pursue your BSN or MSN conveniently online, backed by the legacy of GCU's traditional campus.
  • GCU's bachelor's and master's programs prepare students to fill roles in direct care, management, health education and administrative disciplines.
  • The baccalaureate degree in nursing and master's degree in nursing at GCU are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Develop with hands-on practice, online and lab simulations and in depth peer discussions exploring best practices.
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • View Certificates, Associates or Bachelors Degree Programs in Medical Assisting Near YOU!
  • Free Information for Medical Assisting, Healthcare Administration, Medical Billing, Coding & Transcription Degree Programs & MORE.
  • Enter YOUR Needs and Requirements & Get Matched to the Perfect Campus or Online Degree Programs.
  • Accredited, Flexible and Affordable Medical Assisting Programs that Fit Your Time & Budget. Use our Matching Service - It's Easy and FREE!
  • Online Courses

Showing schools in your area

Matching School Ads
5 Program(s) Found
  • Nursing Degree Programs from Grand Canyon University's College of Nursing & Health Care Professions
  • Degree Variety: GCU offers a full-spectrum of nursing programs including bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, as well as post-master’s certificates.
  • The baccalaureate degree in nursing and master's degree in nursing at Grand Canyon University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (http://www.aacn.nche.edu-accreditation).
  • GCU provides a Christian environment that provides an opportunity for you to embrace a holistic approach to caring for patients: physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
  • Depending on the degree you choose, you could take online, evening, or on-campus classes. Speak with an enrollment counselor to discuss your options!
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • View Certificates, Associates or Bachelors Degree Programs in Medical Assisting Near YOU!
  • Free Information for Medical Assisting, Healthcare Administration, Medical Billing, Coding & Transcription Degree Programs & MORE.
  • Enter YOUR Needs and Requirements & Get Matched to the Perfect Campus or Online Degree Programs.
  • Accredited, Flexible and Affordable Medical Assisting Programs that Fit Your Time & Budget. Use our Matching Service - It's Easy and FREE!
  • Online Courses

Login to your account

Can't remember your Password ?

Register for this site!