A neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP) is a registered nurse who has acquired their MSN or DNP degree and has acquired both their nursing license and board certification as a neonatal nurse practitioner.
Those who work as neonatal nurse practitioners center their education and training on neonatal care, which educates NNP’s on how to effectively assess and treat newborns and infants that are suffering from an illness, injury or birth complication that requires advanced comprehensive medical care and treatment.
Neonatal nurse practitioners also monitor and evaluate healthy infants in order to ensure that they are born healthy and not in need of medical treatment before they leave the hospital.
In cases where an infant is born unhealthy neonatal nurse practitioners will evaluate the infant’s medical condition and provide medical support to help stabilize the infant and bring it back to full health.
Some of the medical challenges and complications NNP’s face when dealing with unhealthy newborns may include working with infants who are suffering from heart complications, pre mature birth, low birth weight, respiratory issues and birth defects among other life threatening medical conditions.
Because of the high level of training and education neonatal nurse practitioners receive these practitioners have the ability to diagnose and treat a number of injuries and/or illnesses that are within the spectrum of their education.
They are also able to prescribe injury/illness related medications, implement screenings and x-rays in their practice, do routine check ups and act as primary health care providers on behalf of their patients.
What are neonatal nurse practitioners responsible for?
Neonatal nurse practitioners provide medical care and support to new-born infants for up to 28 days after their birth.
Some of the duties neonatal nurse practitioners diagnose and treat infants suffering from a variety of medical conditions (within their field of specialty), prescribing medications, taking x-rays, research current medical practices and health care procedures to improve their overall knowledge and skill set and provide extensive medical care and resuscitation to newborns suffering from life threatening ailments among other medical tasks related to their field of expertise.
Where do neonatal nurse practitioners work?
Neonatal nurse practitioners may be observed operating in a variety of settings including clinics, doctor offices, health departments, hospitals, nurse practitioner office and urgent care centers, although in many cases NNP’s will be found operating in the neonatal care department of a hospital or in the delivery room.
How much do neonatal nurse practitioners earn?
The income of a neonatal nurse practitioner ranges greatly based on numerous factors including the state the NNP works in, how many hours the NNP works, any benefits and bonuses they have received, any overtime they have acquired and any agreements and between the NNP and their employer.
NNP’s that work in large metropolitan areas such as New York, N.Y. may earn anywhere from $45,000 – $135,000 or more depending on their training and education, while NNP’s that work in smaller metropolitan states such as Wyoming may obtain a salary of between $40,000 – $120,000 per year.
It is important to understand that these estimates may not account for any bonuses, incentives and/or overtime that the NNP has acquired.
How to become a neonatal nurse practitioner
Those who are want to work as neonatal nurse practitioners must begin their journey by first earning their bachelors of science in nursing degree and successfully completing the NCLEX-RN exam before they are able to start studying to become a neonatal nurse practitioner.
After you have obtained your degree and acquired your RN license the next step is to choose a master’s degree program that’s geared towards neonatal nurse practitioner education and training from a nursing school that offers MSN programs.
Note: Some nurse practitioner programs require RN’s to acquire 1 – 2 years of work experience before being able to take the MSN program for nurse practitioners.
Most NNP programs are 1 & 1/2 – 2 years long and may require eligible students to have at least 1 year of work experience working in a level three neonatal care unit before allowing them to begin the NNP program.
Some of the education and training that is required in the NNP program may include video lessons, textbook material, practice simulations, classroom lectures and seminars, and intern program experience.
After you have completed the NNP program you are required to maintain your registered nurse license and neonatal nurse practitioner certification in order to work in the field.
Note: As education standards for nurse practitioners continue to rise it may possible that by the year 2015 NNP programs will require students to earn their doctor of nursing practice degree before they can begin working as an NP.