What Is a Registered Neonatal Nurse?
Registered neonatal nurses work in the neonatal units of hospitals and medical care facilities providing care and treatment to newborns. If you want to know more about what a registered neonatal nurse is, keep reading.
As a registered neonatal nurse, you can work with critically-ill newborns and sick infants until they are released from hospital care. According to the National Association of Neonatal Nurses, most jobs in neonatal nursing are available in hospitals (www.nann.org). In a hospital setting, you can expect to find work in neonatal intensive care units, where you might be responsible for monitoring patients with a variety of fragile health conditions, helping with diagnosis, interacting with families, and working as part of a healthcare team.
Your duties include developing care plans for infants, participating in infant deliveries, and assessing patient and family needs. In some positions, you could also work on a transport team, providing care to infants in ambulances or in air transports.
Important Facts About Registered Neonatal Nurses
|Median Salary (2019)||$64,266*|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)||15% (for all registered nurses)**|
|On-the-Job Training||Not provided|
|Key Skills||Emotionally stable, critical thinking, problem solving, attention to detail, empathy, clear communication|
|Similar Occupations||Certified nurse assistants, charge nurses, clinical nurse managers, nursing managers, registered nurses, registered respiratory therapists|
Source: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Education and Licensing
To work as a registered neonatal nurse, you can earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). While you do have the option to earn an associate's degree in nursing and acquire a registered nurse (RN) license, a BSN program allows you to pursue graduate-level education in neonatal nursing.
Aside from the basic studies of nursing, a BSN curriculum includes pertinent courses for neonatal nurses, such as nursing for the child, which is a course that teaches you proper care techniques for children from the neonatal stage and upwards. Other courses that might help you in this career include family nursing, pediatric nursing, and community health nursing.
Before practicing as an RN, you must take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). After being licensed, you are free to find a position in a hospital's neonatal unit.
After you have acquired work experience as a neonatal nurse, you can pursue certification. The AACN Certification Corporation, a division of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, offers the CCRN certification to RNs who work in the neonatal critical care nursing field. To acquire this credential, the AACN Certification Corporation requires that you have an RN license and have worked with critically-ill infants for at least 1,750 hours within the two years directly preceding your application (www.aacn.org).
Advanced Career Options
If you are interested in advanced education, you can pursue programs that prepare you to work as a neonatal clinical nurse specialist or nurse practitioner, depending on your course of study. Master's degree programs in clinical neonatal nursing prepare you to give advanced care to patients and families. In these two-year programs, you can learn how to obtain health information and perform assessments in order to develop a diagnosis. You might also study the correct applications of pharmaceuticals to infants with chronic conditions.