A neonatal care nurse is a registered nurse who specializes in providing medical care to newborn infants who are suffering from various health problems such as newborn illnesses, infections, birth defects, cardiovascular issues and a host of other healthcare problems that may arise while giving birth or shortly after birth.
Neonatal care often begins right after the baby is born and generally lasts until the child is discharged from the hospital.
In many cases this may be within the first month of birth, however in certain circumstances neonatal care nurses may provide medical care to children for up to the first two years of birth.
Neonatal care nurses are trained to quickly identify healthcare problems within newborn babies and apply the right type of medical procedure in order to stabilize the infants medical condition and hopefully bring the child back to full health.
Neonatal care nurses are responsible for evaluating the condition of newborn infants, monitoring vital signs, administering medications to stabilize the condition of newborns who are suffering from health problems, providing CPR and other lifesaving procedures during neonatal resuscitation and managing various infant medical equipment among other neonatal care related medical tasks.
Responsibilities of a neonatal care nurse:
- Monitor the health and vital signs of newborn infants
- Administer necessary medications to assist in the medical procedure or recovery process of newborns
- Monitor and manage blood flow and breathing in order to minimize chances of brain damage and loss of life
- Perform CPR and other lifesaving medical procedures to infants who are suffering from respiratory issues or breathing problems
- Provide circulatory stimulation and blood flow management procedures to stimulate and maintain infant blood flow pathways
- Oversee the short or long-term care of sick or ill newborns while they remain in the hospital and until the are discharged
- Maintain medical records
- Assist neonatal nurse practitioners and other neonatal care professionals during medical procedures
And other duties related to neonatal care.
In many cases neonatal care nurses work alongside other nurses and nurse practitioners in what is known as a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
A NICU is a dedicated facility or designated area often located in a hospital that specializes solely in neonatal care.
By having a dedicated NICU team hospitals and healthcare centers can provide families with dedicated infant healthcare which can significantly improve infant mortality rates and reduce birth complications.
Neonatal care nurses are essential to the healthcare of newborn children and play a vital role in the development of infants within their first few weeks of birth, which can provide lifelong improvements in the health of the infants and families they serve.