A career in nursing is exciting, particularly when it comes to working with infants. Anyone who asks how do I become a neonatal nurse needs to learn the basics of the career path and the method of gaining a specialty in newborn care. After completing the appropriate education and training, it is possible to work as a neonatal nurse in any hospital.
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Neonatal Nursing Basics
Anyone who wants to become a neonatal nurse needs to understand what the position entails. A neonatal nurse is a professional who works in newborn care in a hospital setting. He or she ensures that the babies are properly monitored and that arrangements are made for diapering, feeding and other infant care before the baby is ready to go home.
Nurses who work in the intensive care unit or who work with premature babies have the responsibility of watching infant development and ensuring that the parents are ready to handle special care needs for the first few months of life.
Nursing is a field that requires some education. Those who want to become a neonatal nurse must obtain an appropriate education to learn about newborn infant care.
Individuals who want to work with infants who are 28 days or younger need to clarify the level they prefer to work in. Neonatal nurses work in three levels. Level one nurses care for healthy infants immediately after birth. The level two nurses need more specialized training to deal with pre-mature infants and the equipment used for appropriate care. Level three nurses work around the clock with infants who are in critical condition. These nurses are usually very experienced in neonatal divisions and have a high education.
In most states, a neonatal nurse will need a minimum of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The nurse must also pass any state licensing and must obtain a certification in neonatal care. A higher education of a master’s degree is appropriate for those who want to work in the critical care unit.
Most states will also require clinical experience in a hospital for a set number of years. The amount of time required will vary based on the state.
Job Opportunities and Salary
Anyone who wants to become a neonatal nurse will need to consider job opportunities and salary. Neonatal nursing is expected to grow with the healthcare industry due to high demand for jobs. Opportunities in neonatal nursing are most common in large hospitals around the country, though some states have a higher demand for nursing professionals than others.
Salary is variable based on factors like location, education level and the intensity of the work. Nurses who work in level one neonatal care will receive less than those who work in level three due to the complexity of the work. The intensive care unit requires a higher education, more experience and more complicated equipment, so pay rates a higher. Most nurses will make between $30,000 and $100,000 per year, though the exact amount will vary.
A neonatal nurse is a professional who works with newborns. The job responsibilities vary based on the level within the hospital, but ultimately the career is rewarding.