Summary: Neonatal nurses are the ones who give medical care to newly born infants. Their ultimate goal is to ensure the safety of newborn babies. They are usually divided into three different levels: first level (taking care of newly born infants after childbirth); second level (taking care of babies who are ill or premature); and third level (taking care of newborns with treatment problems from the first two levels). They work closely with neonatologists to monitor and determine the most effective treatment for newborns with health problems.
Duties: The tasks of Neonatal nurses include: deals with babies who have disorders; guides and solves the inquiries of the parents of the baby; provides emotional support to the family of the baby; monitors the condition of the baby; takes the baby’s temperature; changes the baby’s diaper; feeds the baby milk; gives babies medicine with the correct quantities; ensures proper use of incubators, ventilates and feeding tubes of babies in intensive care units; keeps records of the health details of the baby; stores medical records of the baby; informs the infant’s parents of the health complication of their child; analyzes the baby’s medical history; advises and educates parents about postpartum, neonatal and intensive care for the baby; and supervises the over-all condition of infant.
Education and Training Requirements: A bachelor’s degree in nursing is the minimum requirement for a neonatal nurse along with at least a year of experience working in intensive care units. Passing of licensing exams is also required after graduation. Graduate degrees are also available in order to advance a neonatal nurse’s credentials.
Knowledge and Skills Requirements: Neonatal nursing is a great career option for people who love babies and find pleasure in taking care of them. They should be able to adapt and act quickly in difficult and emergency situations. Good communications skills are important as well to be able to convey the correct information to the parents regarding health-related issues of the baby. They may also serve as the direct link between the immediate family of the infant and the hospital or health institute.
Working Conditions: Neonatal nurses are often found in hospitals, physician clinics, convalescent homes, educational services and in patients’ private homes providing home-care services. They work in clean and well lighted places working ten to twelve hour shifts. Their job becomes demanding as much of their day is spent on their feet walking and standing. Although intensive nursing demands are involved, the job becomes rewarding by helping infants who are most in need.
Salary: The average salary of a neonatal nurse if $54,000 with employers providing health and life insurance, educational reimbursements and year-end bonuses to full-time staff.