A neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP) is a healthcare specialist who provides care to infants and newborns.
These specialists hold an MSN or DNP degree, nursing license, and board certification as neonatal nurse practitioners.
Those who work as neonatal nurse practitioners center their education and training on neonatal care.
It educates them on managing infant illness, injury, and birth complications requiring comprehensive care and treatment.
Neonatal nurse practitioners monitor and evaluate infants to ensure they are healthy and don’t require medical treatment.
Nurse practitioners evaluate the infant’s condition and provide medical support in cases where an infant is unhealthy.
They stabilize the infant and bring them back to total health before discharging them from the hospital.
What Do Neonatal Nurse Practitioners Do?
Neonatal nurse practitioners receive extensive training in infant care and treatment.
As a result, they can diagnose and treat various injuries and illnesses within their scope of practice.
Neonatal nurse practitioners provide medical care and support to infants for up to 28 days after birth.
During this time, they monitor the infant’s health, diagnose conditions, develop treatment plans, and prescribe medications.
They’ll also conduct routine checkups and manage other staff members providing care to the infant.
When not assisting patients, neonatal nurse practitioners research current medical practices and health care procedures.
It enables them to improve their knowledge and skillset and provide extensive medical care and resuscitation to newborns.
There are numerous reasons newborns experience medical issues before or during birth.
It includes heart complications, premature birth, low birth weight, respiratory issues, congenital disabilities, and other life-threatening conditions.
Where Do Neonatal Nurse Practitioners Work?
Neonatal nurse practitioners operate in various healthcare settings.
It includes regional clinics, doctor offices, health departments, hospitals, NICU units, and urgent care centers.
Nevertheless, many neonatal nurse practitioners operate in the neonatal care departments of a hospital or delivery room.
These are the most typical locations where newborns and infants require healthcare monitoring and medical support.
A neonatal nurse practitioner’s income varies significantly depending on numerous factors.
It includes the neonatal nurse practitioner’s work location, education, career experience, employer, and hiring incentives.
These specialists earn a median income of approximately $112,357 annually in the U.S.
Nevertheless, some practitioners earn more by working overtime, taking special assignments, and operating in high-paying locations.
These estimates may not account for bonuses, incentives, and overtime.
Neonatal nurse practitioners operating in large metropolitan areas usually earn more than those in rural settings.
Busy metropolitan locations have higher patient demands, so nurse practitioners treat more people on average.
As a result, they’re more likely to earn higher incomes due to the increased work demands and patient flow.
How To Become A Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
There are numerous educational steps aspiring neonatal nurse practitioners must satisfy to obtain careers in this field.
It includes obtaining a diploma/GED, entering nursing school, gaining work experience, completing post-graduate education, and neonatal nurse practitioner licensure.
The following section explores the necessary steps students must complete to become neonatal nurse practitioners.
1. Obtain a Diploma/GED
Those who want to work as neonatal nurse practitioners must begin their journey by first obtaining a diploma or GED.
Most universities will not accept students who have not obtained standard education credentials.
2. Complete Nursing School
There are several steps students must complete to enter nursing school and earn their nursing license.
Firstly, students must apply to a college or university and complete the nursing school’s mandatory prerequisite courses.
They must also maintain their GPA to qualify for nursing school, as entry can be very competitive.
Most students apply to several nursing programs to maximize their odds of getting accepted after completing the prerequisites.
Students will also want to determine whether to pursue an ADN or BSN degree.
The ADN is a two-year program that enables students to enter the healthcare field quickly.
It’s a great way to gain experience early on and earn money.
However, the ADN degree limits a nurse’s potential to qualify for specific career opportunities or pursue post-graduate education.
The BSN is a four-year program that provides more extensive education and prepares nurses for advanced, specialized roles.
It’s also necessary for students who want to pursue post-graduate education to become nurse practitioners.
After getting accepted into nursing school, students spend several years learning the ins and outs of nursing.
At the end of the programs, students must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain their registered nursing license.
3. Gain Work Experience
Most post-graduate programs recommend or require nurses to obtain one to three years of clinical experience before applying.
With that said, some universities may accept students directly out of college.
While working for a hospital, you may want to work in a department related to the specialization you wish to pursue.
For instance, working in neonatal care benefits those planning to become neonatal nurse practitioners.
It helps you prepare for your role and looks excellent in your post-graduate application.
It also lets you determine whether a particular specialization suits your interests and career goals.
After obtaining adequate experience, you may apply to a post-graduate program for neonatal nurse practitioners.
4. Complete Post Graduate Education
The neonatal nurse practitioner program requires approximately two to four years to complete.
The length of completion varies depending on your academic goals, full-time/part-time status, and finished clinical hours.
Students may pursue courses online or in person, enabling them to learn in a manner that accommodates their schedules.
Online courses benefit working registered nurses who need to continue earning a living while attending school.
Nevertheless, students must occasionally travel for specific lessons, cliincals, and other requirements.
There is one additional way non-nursing bachelor’s degree students may apply for a master’s program.
It requires students to hold a bachelor’s degree in another field.
In those cases, aspiring nurses may participate in a direct entry master’s in nursing program to obtain their license.
5. Obtain Credentials and Licensure
At the end of the program, nursing students must pass a national board certification exam to obtain their license.
Neonatal nurse practitioners may seek work once they’ve received certification/licensure and paid their licensing fees.
Nevertheless, neonatal nurse practitioners must maintain their certification through regular renewal registrations.
They must also take continuing education courses and work a certain number of hours annually to maintain their license.