Want to be a nurse and work with infants at the same time? Neonatal nursing is a career possibility. It explains what to do to become a neonatal nurse.
How to Become a Neonatal Nurse
A neonatal nurse focuses on meeting infants’ medical needs in hospitals, clinics, or community health settings. Neonatal nurses examine newborn medical histories, give medical tests, or give medications. Having compassion, working long hours, solid critical thinking abilities, and emotional stability can be helpful if one hopes to pursue this profession.
The process of becoming a professional neonatal nurse involves:
First, getting a nursing degree.
- Passing the necessary licensure exam.
- Gaining experience in nursing with newborns.
It is an arduous process that requires much determination and hard work.
Education and Experience for the Neonatal Nurse
It is probable to get an associate’s degree in nursing and begin working as a nurse; however, many people prefer to get a bachelor’s degree in nursing before starting work in nursing. Typically coursework will include algebra, chemistry, microbiology, nutrition, health statistics, nursing ethics, and nursing process courses such as nursing as it pertains to newborns or nursing as it pertains to children.
Also included in training will be a nursing practicum that will enable one to gain supervised nursing experience before completing the bachelor’s degree. In addition to completing the nursing degree, it is necessary to successfully pass the National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN) to satisfy the requirements for nursing licensure.
After licensure, it is helpful to gain at least three years of hospital experience to provide medical care for infants. Gaining these three years of experience in providing medical care for infants enables one to specialize in neonatal nursing. Going directly into a master’s degree in nursing (MSN) is not required immediately after college. However, getting a master’s degree in nursing can be helpful because attaining a master’s degree demonstrates that one is very determined to have a career in neonatal nursing. In addition, achieve a nurse practitioner license (NP) can help enable one to be competitive in the nursing job market.
Earning special certification is necessary for neonatal nurses. For instance, it is required to get a diploma in neonatal intensive care or neonatal resuscitation. The state board in the state where one intends to practice must then give a certificate. Also, one must get national certification through the National Certification Corporation (NCC). Then, once accreditation has been attained, it is necessary to complete continuing education coursework to meet the requirements to maintain one’s nursing skills and licensure.