How Long Does it Take to Become a Neonatal Nurse?
What does a Neonatal Nurse do?
Neonatal nursing is the practice of caring for new born babies. It focuses on the care of infants who were premature, or are suffering from health issues. Health issues could be things like infections, defects or deformities. Neonatal nurses are registered nurses who have trained to care specifically for infant patients.
Neonatal care has proved beneficial for millions of babies with special care needs. The overarching aim of the neonatal nurse is to lower the number of fatalities and increase the level of care given. Premature babies have particular health concerns.
These can be life-threatening if not treated appropriately. In addition to the care of the infants, neonatal nurses play a huge role in the lives of the parents during this time. This can include reassuring parents, offering support and encouraging parents to take part in caring for their unwell baby.
Neonatal nurse practitioners (NNP’s) can work in clinics, ICU’s (intensive care units), hospitals or be community-based. There are different levels within the specialty:
How many years of college to be a neonatal nurse?
To become a neonatal nurse, you must first train to be a registered nurse. A registered nurse must obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree (BSN), which is a four-year qualification or a AND (Associates degree in Nursing) which is a two year qualification.
Once you are a registered nurse, you can look at the different types of nurse practitioner and consider whether you want to do further training. You can do additional training to qualify as a neonatal nurse practitioner, a psychiatric nurse practitioner or an emergency nurse practitioner for example.
The next step up, is to train to become a neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP). To do this, you require a Master of Science in Nursing degree (MSN). Lots of neonatal nursing schools can offer this degree via a two-year program called an Advanced Practice Neonatal Nursing program (APNN). You will also need to have a certificate in Neonatal Resuscitation /Neonatal Intensive Care nursing. In addition to this, you may need to complete a minimum number of years in a hospital setting to gain clinical experience.
So, how much do nurses make? Recent data shows that the average hourly rate for a neonatal nurse practitioner is around $56. In comparison, the average hourly rate for a registered nurse is around $28. It will depend on the area you are working in and the organization you are working for.
Salary can vary hugely, and you must make sure you look at the wages in the area you wish to work. Some nurses will earn less, and some will earn more; NNP’s will receive a higher hourly wage as a result of their higher level education and responsibilities.
How much does a neonatal nurse make a year?
The average yearly wage for a registered nurse is in the region of $40,000 to $85,000. This may seem like a big range, but again, the wage depends on the organization you are working for and the geographical area you are working in.
Before looking at starting a new career (whether you are just starting out or considering a career change), it is important to do your research. Make sure you are 100% clear on the requirements; if you need a degree, which degree and level you need to obtain.
This is imperative for careers such as neonatal nursing, there is a lot of training involved, and you should be sure this is what you want to do.
Once you are clear on this, make sure you know what you are getting yourself in for. Make sure you know how long the training is going to take you and make sure you know what that means for you in real terms. Do further research on your prospective earnings and what that will mean for you; you may wish to relocate for instance.
In the next few years, the number of neonatal nurses is expected to increase due to the current nursing shortage. Lots of work is being done to encourage people into nursing, so now is the perfect time to be looking at it as a career option.