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Selecting the Right Neonatal Nursing School

Higher Education Articles December 12, 2012

Parents of infants below two years of age rely on the special care of their infants from neonatal nurse practitioners, whether in intensive care facilities or nurseries. Prospective neonatal nurse practitioners must complete a Master of Science in nursing program focused on a neonatal nursing specialty. In this article, we will look at the factors students need to consider in order to select the appropriate Neonatal Nurse School.

Students who completed a bachelor degree in nursing and they are registered nurses that have satisfied licensure norms to practice their professions in the state; they will have many neonatal nursing programs to choose from. Some programs may allow holders of non-BSN degrees to enroll. Most neonatal programs allow enrollment by nurses who have completed MSN programs; such applicants for neonatal nurse practitioner programs may be required to complete a reduced curriculum that focuses on the fundamental principles of neonatal nursing and such coursework may require just one year to complete.

In some programs, enrollments are accepted from registered nurses who have not completed any bachelor degree. Students who are practicing nurse and does not meet higher education norms that most neonatal nurse practitioner programs require from applicants, they should look for such programs described above. However, the programs will require students to complete additional coursework. Some programs have undergone voluntary accreditation; enrollment to such a program will make a graduate eligible for automatic certification allowing them to practice as a neonatal nurse practitioner.

According to eligibility requirements for certification as defined by the National Certification Corporation (NCC), the credential authority for neonatal nurse practitioner programs; candidates are required to have completed a master degree program bearing accreditation from the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Students graduating from accredited programs will have more choices for continuing education as well as career options (source: NLNAC). Prospective students that are involved in jobs, or have other agenda constraints, can opt for a neonatal nurse practitioner program with a part-time curriculum. Some students may prefer neonatal nurse practitioner programs that have clinical experience spread over the duration of the course rather than other programs that have such hands-on practical coursework only in the final year.

There are more electives offered in some programs than in others; some may have courses that are neonatal-specific rather than focused on general nursing — such programs are likely to find greater attraction among students who seek courses that offer more neonatal nurse practitioner experience. Students that seek to work primarily in intensive care facilities or nurseries, or in more private healthcare settings such as with families, can opt for programs with coursework focused on clinical experience in the required direction. Other students who seek more well-rounded training can opt for programs that have different on-campus facilities and hands-on clinical experience incorporated into the coursework.

An Overview of Neonatal Nurse Programs

Students seeking to enroll for a MSN program with emphasis on neonatal nursing can expect coursework that covers advanced nursing topics such as pharmacology and health policy alongside neonatal nursing practices, including courses covering the diagnosis, management and physiology of infants and neonates. Enrollment will not be given with previous clinical experience, and such experience is mandatory for earning a certificate from the NCC.

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