If you’ve decided you want to pursue a career as a nurse, you’re likely a selfless individual who feels fulfilled by helping others. You’re committed to the health and wellness of others and making an impact on people’s lives. The term “nurse” on its own is quite broad, and you will need to choose which type of nurse you would like to become. You should base your choice on what you feel most passionate about and where your interests lie.
Specializing as a neonatal nurse is exceptionally fulfilling and will allow you to work with newborn babies, ensuring they get the best start to life. If this sounds interesting to you, read on to find out everything you need to know about pursuing a neonatal nursing path.
What does neonatal mean?
Neonatal means anything relating to newborn children. In nursing, working in the neonatal intensive care unit involves caring for babies who experienced complications at birth. Some of these situations include congenital disabilities, cardiac issues, infections, and premature birth. Neonatal nurses will treat these babies as long as is needed to ensure they are in optimal health when they are discharged. Although neonatal typically references only the first month of a child’s life, they may stay in the neonatal unit much longer, depending on the specific problem.
What education is required to become a neonatal nurse?
To become a neonatal nurse, you will need both education and training on how to deal with infants. After all, infants are some of the hardest patients to care for as they cannot speak to say how they are feeling. Therefore, you need to know how to recognize signs as you see them.
However, what do you need to become a neonatal nurse?
You will need to be a registered nurse before you can begin your path in the neonatal field, and here is how to do so:
Firstly, you will need to have a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Once you’ve obtained your degree, you can then take the NCLEX-RN exam to get your registered nursing license. Becoming a registered nurse is just the first step. Next, you’ll need to train specifically as a neonatal nurse. There are a few different ways to move forward from this point.
The most effective way to get into neonatal nursing is by taking one of the neonatal nurse practitioner programs. You can often take these online, which allows you to study alongside working in the hospital and gaining experience. Employers are most likely to hire you if you have specialized post-graduate education as a neonatal nurse.
Alternatively, you can gain on the job experience by working as a registered nurse in a facility with an active neonatal intensive care unit. You can begin to help out with infant care and in the nurseries to prove you’ve got the skill to work more hands-on with the infants, which could lead to a transfer into the neonatal intensive care unit itself.
However, doing both will allow you to stand out and become the best neonatal nurse available.
What’s tasks are involved with being a neonatal nurse?
Neonatal nurses typically work in hospitals within the maternity ward, or neonatal intensive care unit. That said, they can also station in clinics, nurseries, or on the road, providing home care services after the infant is discharged. Neonatal nurses provide the gamut of support needed for both the baby and the mother in the beginning stages of the child’s life. The support required can vary between simple breastfeeding techniques to emergency resuscitation and everything in between.
Some of the tasks required by a neonatal nurse include:
– Attending and providing support during births
– Infant care immediately following the birth
– Performing tests on the infant to ensure optimal health and analyzing results
– Administering prescribed medication as needed
– Evaluating and monitoring the condition of all infants in the neonatal intensive care unit
– Maintaining and operating all equipment in the unit
– Keeping parents up to date about the status of their child and any procedures that are required
– Providing valuable information to parents regarding the required care for their baby
– Documenting all information in the infant’s medical history
What soft skills will help you as a neonatal nurse?
Beyond the technical and clinical skills that you’ll need to obtain through study, some soft skills will benefit you as a neonatal nurse. Communication skills are incredibly critical in this path as you will need to relay a lot of sensitive information to the infant’s parents or guardians. Sometimes this information isn’t always positive, and being able to communicate empathetically and effectively will be a massive asset.
Teamwork, planning, and critical thinking skills will all serve you well as a neonatal nurse. You’ll be working with others in the unit, and being able to work effectively as a team will ensure optimal patient outcomes. You’ll also need to be able to think critically and objectively when it comes to caring for infants and remaining calm under pressure.
Why should you become a neonatal nurse?
Becoming a neonatal nurse is one of the most fulfilling career paths in the nursing industry. You get to witness the creation of life and contribute to a new being’s health and growth. Most people who come to the hospital do so unwillingly. They are often injured, sick, or suffering from long term conditions, which may cause them a lot of pain. As a neonatal nurse, you get to work with patients who are there to bring a new life into this world and are likely happy and excited to be there.
While your job will involve caring for infants who have complications or are sick, you will also get to see new parents walk out the door to take their baby home for the first time. Knowing that you were part of such a significant moment in their life is extremely rewarding.
On top of the apparent fulfillment that you will get from being a neonatal nurse, there are the financial benefits. The average salary for a neonatal nurse is around$107,000 per year. There are also many opportunities for advancement in this path, including moving towards a management role or care specialist position.
Becoming a neonatal nurse offers the potential to make dramatic impacts in the beginning stages of an infant’s life. You get to be part of its first moments and ensure that they are cared for adequately, so they have the best chance to grow into healthy adults.