Not all nurses get to experience the joy of caring for babies. Those who want to enjoy the opportunity to care for newborn infants turn to a career as Neonatal Nurse Practitioners (NNPs). These individuals provide specialized care to newborn infants until they restore their health.
What Is a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner?
Neonatal Nurse Practitioners are Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs) who provide specialized care for newborn infants. The nature of their work allows them to provide specific care to ill or premature newborn babies. In some cases, Neonatal Nurse Practitioners may only work in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) with those newborn babies who are seriously ill.
Because of the level of education that Neonatal Nurse Practitioners have they can make decisions about care for their young patients based on emergency or urgent need. Some Neonatal Nurse Practitioners report to Neonatologists and other specialists when caring for ill infants. Many Neonatal Nurse Practitioners oversee an extremely large caseload of patients in busy hospitals with a shortage of qualified nurses.
The level of responsibility that Neonatal Nurse Practitioners have varies greatly by overseeing physicians, the level of care needed by the young patients, and the medical facilities in which they work.
Job Duties of a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
Neonatal Nurse Practitioners work in medical facilities such as intensive care units, delivery rooms, and emergency rooms caring from newborn babies and premature babies. These medical professionals provide special care for babies and newborns with respiratory distress, low birth weight, abnormalities, congenital heat defects, and other disorders.
Neonatal Nurse Practitioners also supervise, assess, and manage their patients’ progress. Their job also requires that they are familiar with equipment such as ventilators and incubators. NNPs also have the responsibility to consult and collaborate with patients’ families and Neonatologist as well.
Their job responsibilities are further broken down into 3 levels of neonatal nursing, which include:
- Level I NNPs provide care for healthy babies. There is a low demand for this level of neonatal nursing since babies usually remain in the rooms with their moms after birth.
- Level II NNPs provide constant care for sick and premature babies.
- Level III NNPs work in intensive care units providing round the clock care for seriously premature or ill babies. These nurses have the greatest level of responsibility. They also teach parents ways to care for their babies properly.
The video below explains an overview of neonatal nurses, but the salary information given is for regular RN neonatal nurses, not nurse practitioners.
How to Become a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
To become a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner it is necessary to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree (BSN) from an accredited college or university. After graduating from nursing school and working for a while, nurses must take the NCLEX-RN to become Registered Nurses. They must have the Registered Nurse credentials before becoming Neonatal Nurse Practitioners. Nurses must also have certifications in Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing and Neonatal Resuscitation.
Nurses must attend a graduate program in nursing to become Neonatal Nurse Practitioners. They must earn the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree to become NNPs. Some programs offer this Advanced Practice Nursing degree in two years through an Advanced Practice Neonatal Nursing (APNN) program. Nurses must have a minimum number of years of clinical experience before they can sit for the NCLEX exam. They can work as Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) and Neonatal Nurse Practitioners (NNPs) after earning their credentials.
Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Salary
Opportunities for nurses are expected to see a 22% increase through the year 2018. Those nursing professionals who are Registered Nurses or Advanced Practice Nurses have the greatest number of opportunities in the field of nursing. Neonatal Nurse Practitioners have some the greatest opportunities in nursing, and they receive one of the highest salaries in the nursing industry. So what is the salary of a neonatal nurse practitioner? How much money do neonatal nurse practitioners make each year?
According to information taken from PayScale.com, Neonatal Nurse Practitioners can earn salaries between $39,078 and $113,714 annually, but many NNPs can make salaries above $150,000 annually. The current National Average for NNPs is $91,000 annually. The average salaries for Neonatal Nurse Practitioners with no experience are approximately $48,000 to $70,000 annually.
The best opportunities for NNPs are in Shreveport, Philadelphia, Tampa, Dallas, and Cleveland. The NNPs with the greatest level of experience receive the highest salaries in the nursing industry. The salaries that they receive depend greatly on location, experience, need, qualifications, and specializations.
Neonatal Nurse Practitioners are Advanced Practice Nurses that offer specialized care to newborn babies until they regain their healthy status. They receive competitive salaries that match their exceptional level of skill in nursing. Mothers and their babies depend of NNPs to help them grow.