Learn what is neonatal nursing and find out how to become a neonatal nurse. What qualification and experience do you need and what about further education? Read the quick guide here.
What is neonatal nursing?
The definition This is the provision of nursing care for newborns for up to 28 days after birth by neonatal nurses. Neo means new and natal is related to birth or origin. The neonatal nursery There are three levels in the neonatal nursery: Level I - The newborns here are healthy and are usually discharged with their mothers rather quickly. Level II - The newborns here are either premature or ill and are usually discharged after their mothers. They are given intermediate or special neonatal nursing care like therapy and so on. Level III - The newborns here rely on advanced technology to survive and take a longer time to be discharged after their mothers. They are given intensive care in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
How to be a neonatal nurse
Basic qualifications You must be a registered nurse (RN). In order to qualify, you need either one of the following: 1. Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) 2. Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Additional qualifications 1. Midwifery 2. Experience in adult health 3. Experience in surgical nursing 4. Neonatal resuscitation In order to be a NICU nurse, there is generally no extra qualification required other than a certification in neonatal resuscitation. Experience may or may not be required. Working as a neonatal nurse Nursing standards differ from one one country to another and from one healthcare institution to another. For instance, some healthcare institutions accept new RN graduates who have passed the NCLEX exam while others require one or more additional qualifications.
Further neonatal education
Why you need it Postgraduate neonatal degrees are available in some countries. This may be a requirement to be a nurse practitioner. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is one and there are other doctorates. How to qualify for a postgraduate degree Ideally, you should have two years of experience as a NICU nurse, as recommended by the National Association of Neonatal Nurses. Check out with your local licensing or certifying body on how you can further your education in this area.