Prospective candidates seeking a degree with specialization in neonatal nursing must target a master degree because there is not a bachelor degree relating to this major. In this article, we will look at various educational alternatives available to an aspiring neonatal nursing practitioner (NNP).
Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Majoring as Clinical Nurse Specialist or Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
Nurses who have undergone training can learn how to care for infants and neonates from neonatal nurse practitioner courses. They are taught skills required in treating babies that are critically or recurrently ill, or high-risk in any other way. Apart from the above, aspiring neonatal nurse practitioners are trained to provide breastfeeding assistance (with new techniques) to new mothers, instruction to new parents on healthcare of infants, and counseling to expected parents. Neonatal nurse practitioners learn about healthcare-industry related to business topics; these include finance and economics.
Prospective students wishing to enroll in a neonatal nurse practitioner course must be registered nurses who have satisfied licensure norms along with one to two years of prior experience working in a level 3 neonatal intensive care facility. In some schools, enrollments may be given to nurses who have completed a Bachelor of Science (BSN) in nursing. Such candidates are required to have earned an undergraduate GPA of 3.0. Completion of statistics and health assessment courses is a standard requirement for prospective students. Graduate Record Examination and Miller Analogies Test scores need to be submitted, apart from letters of recommendation, candidates’ writing samples and resumes.
Students are required to log six hundred hours of on-the-job training that typically comprises four practices in clinical settings. Students are taught researching strategies, and they are required to complete coursework that covers topics such as detection and treatment of infant diseases, medications and drug therapies for infants, fetal and infant growth and development, assessment of the health of newborns and Heredity factors and DNA.
Job and Wage Potential
In 2010, neonatal nurse practitioners took home an annual median salary of $99,117 (source: salary.com). Job growth of twenty-two percent has been projected for nurses in general, during the period from 2008 to 2018, and demand for clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners are expected to be high (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov)).
Continuing Education Programs
After completing their master degree, neonatal nurse practitioners can choose to pursue a doctoral degree in Nursing, if they have interest in doing scientific research or aspire to teach at an university. There are clinically oriented Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs for those who wish to continue practicing. The National Certification Corporation (www.nccwebsite.org) offers professional certification programs that nurse practitioners and NNPs can pursue. Eligibility criteria for the exam require test takers to be registered nurses satisfying desired education and experience requirements. Designations need to be re-validated every three years; the certification can be maintained by neonatal nurses who can opt for a re-test or want to participate in continuing education.