The specialized area of neonatal nursing is still fairly new when compared to that of midwifery, adult health or other specialized areas in nursing. This area came about in the 1960s and has been in existence since then. Neonatal is a term that is used to describe babies in the first 28 days after birth and as such, a neonatal nurse is one who is responsible for providing care to a new born at this stage.
The Role of a Neonatal Nurse -A neonatal nurse is capable of working in either the nursery at a hospital on the maternity wards or within the community. In most cases, these hospitals will have their nursery set up in three levels; level I, II and II. Level I refers to that area of the nursery that houses babies that were born healthy. This level is almost becoming non-existent as healthy babies and their mothers are no longer spending many days in the hospital and in some cases share a hospital room.
Level II refers to those babies that have special needs. In most cases these babies were born premature or are suffering from some kind of illness. At this level, babies may require specialize feedings, intravenous therapy, supplemental oxygen or a little more time to develop before they are allowed to go home to their family.
This type of nursing is rapidly declining across the United States as more and more healthy babies now stay in the room with their mother almost from the moment they are born. Levels two and three involve caring for babies born prematurely or with serious illnesses, and work within a neonatal intensive care unit that focuses on caring for the sickest of newborns. Of the three, the intensive care work is the most complex, as neonatal nurses working with these seriously ill children must not only continually monitor the various equipment used to stabilize these infants, but must help to instruct the parents on the best ways to care for their sick child.
Educational Requirement -The requirements for entering the field of neonatal nursing at a hospital will vary across these institutions. However, there are some general requirements. You must first be a registered nurse; this process can take you anywhere between 2 or 4 years, depending on whether or not you are doing an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree. After completing college or university you will then need to pass a state licensing exam go be recognized as a registered nurse. In some nursing program neonatal nursing may be offered as an elective, but there is no special program for this area in the basic RN education curriculum.
Beyond physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology and diagnostics, the APN is expected to be knowledgeable in the areas of health promotion, counseling, and management of common pediatric conditions from birth through adolescences. The APN is also expected to support the administration team.
Salary -Today neonatal nurses are needed and the salary paid is slightly dependent on the area where you live. However, on average beginner nurses get a minimum of $30,000 with as high as$48,000 with no experience. Of course this is expected to be higher with experience.
Author: Franck SilvestreThis author has published 1 articles so far.