Have you always loved babies? Do you intend to make a career out of your affection for them? If yes, then a neonatal nurse can be one of the better options. They are the nurses who are typically in charge of newborn infants – healthy, premature or ill newborns (in levels 1, 2 and 3). Apart from hospital, clinics and community based-settings, neonatal nurses are also trained to be part of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) that helps in bringing a sick neonate back to good health. Working in collaboration with parents, neonatologists and other nurse specialists, a neonatal nurse takes efficient care of the babies for optimal results. What age group do neonatal nurses deal with? Tiny tots who are less than 28 days old! It is definitely a career which is high-risk and emotional. Browse through the following section to find out the various requirements and skills which you need to possess for becoming a neonatal nurse. If you have what it takes then this article can help you a great deal.
Becoming A Neonatal Nurse
A basic education with sciences and anatomy is preferable followed by a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing, or a general B.Sc./B.S. with nursing as majors. This would provide a careful and thorough understanding of the various cases and the techniques involved in the job. It is a 3-4 year course but might take only 2 years with certain universities and online programs. A Master’s degree in nursing is highly beneficial. After this you can apply for a nursing position at a hospital or medical centre for some hands-on training. You can specialize in more than one neonatal profile but you must obtain a separate certificate for each before you start practicing. The last step is to obtain an RN (Registered Nurse) license.
Advanced Practice Neonatal Nursing: This is a postgraduate course available with some universities and is applicable only to qualified nurses. The course comprises of a healthy mix of theoretical knowledge and practical experience.
Post-Basic Diploma In Neonatal Nursing: This is a one year program that requires a Bachelor’s degree and preferably one year work experience. It is aimed at reducing IMR (infant mortality rate) and neonatal mortality rate (NMR).
Compassion: A desire to help others and to be compassionate is one of the roles. Having certain amount of care and understanding in dealing with family members is necessary.
Emotional Stability: A neonatal nurse must keep her emotions under check and not get too involved with the situation. In times of death and illness, they must act professionally and comfort the parents.
Experience: Having a good amount of experience comes in handy. Handling neonates/infants with utmost care and precision only comes from hands-on-training.
Decision Making: Taking decisions based on emergencies and the current situation is one of the biggest challenges for a neonatal nurse. Also, finding quick and effective solutions is important.
Roles And Responsibilities
Providing medical care to newborn infants based on level of expertise. Level 1 deals with aiding healthy infants. This level makes sure that the baby is warm, happy and comfortable. Level 2 neonatal nurses take care of premature deliveries and babies with slight deformities. Level 3 is a specialized unit which takes care of infants who cannot survive without technical procedures like cardiac resuscitation.
Neonatal nurses perform tests, examine medical histories and administer medications which need to be given to the mother and child. There are several care methods to be kept in mind owing to the variety of situations that might arise.
Conducting research and gaining a better understanding of treatment is also a part of the nurse’s job. With this information, a certain protocol can be established and the dietary and other requirements for the baby can be ascertained. Assistance during labour is important.
Studies have proven that there are thousands of low weight infants born who are in need of extreme care and supervision by neonatal nurses. Their chances of survival depend upon the efficiency of these nurses. Medical advances and the growing skills of physicians and nurses are proving to be a huge boon in the nursing industry. It is a satisfying profession and, considering the reducing numbers of normal deliveries owing to changing lifestyles of women, it also shows huge promise for years to come.
To sum up the above, this profession requires courage and patience. If you are someone with all the above criteria and skills then becoming a neonatal nurse might just be the profession you are fir for!