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What are the Requirements for a Neonatal Nurse

Higher Education Articles May 1, 2013

A neonatal nurse is a Registered Nurse that specializes in taking care of newborn babies. These nurses work with doctors as well as other staff members in a clinic or hospital to help mothers cope, learn and excel in motherhood. Some of the duties involved in neonatal care include giving the mother medication, running various tests, and of course, recording vitals and other information.

The nurse that works in this field cares for babies up to 28 days after the day of birth. The term is actually from New (or neo) and Natal, which means “birth.”

Training for Neonatal Nurses

Training is an essential part of this position, and most clinics will prefer to see a background of postsecondary education. Earning a license is also a significant step forward. One organization to consider is the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission. The NLNAC is the organization responsible for accrediting nursing programs. It is in accordance with the National Council of State Boards of Nursing as well as the United States Department of Education. Practically, all 50 states require graduation from an accredited program before licensing is required.

The standard program of choice is usually a BSN, or Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing degree. There are other educational requirements, such as understanding math and science, as well as human anatomy and some biology.

Experience and textbook knowledge are essential. You must not only understand health care operations and procedures, but also medication basics and how the human body reacts to various conditions. BSN educational courses also involve in-depth information about infant care.

However, before you can actually work as a Registered Nurse, you must become licensed and this requires completing the National Council Licensure Examination for RNs. The subject areas include basics relating to health maintenance, infection control and other therapy subjects. Of course, the state determines various requirements for licensing.

What About an MSA Degree After Other Education?

Another option is to get a master’s degree after the initial BSN training. If you do this, you can surpass the registered nurse level. You could go onto become a Neonate Nurse Practitioner, which means a higher salary. This would allow you to work in delivery rooms and care for mother and child.

The educational programs would cover sicknesses in neonatal care, common treatments, and various issues of family practice. You can also choose to take a certificate program and train for higher education in the role of nurse practitioner working with critically ill infants. In addition to knowledge, experience working in lifesaving critical care work goes a long way.

When it is time to become certified, you will work through the National Certification Corporation. However, there are also certification exams on the state level.

Why should you become a Registered Nurse? If you apply yourself, you can earn good money, find professional success, and work in a field that is truly concerned about the value of human life. This is among the most compassionate career paths a person could take and more should be encouraged to pursue nursing!

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  • Designated a 2014-2015 College of Distinction.
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