Neonatal Nursing Degree and Training Programs

Neonatal nurses care for newborns in hospital nurseries or intensive care units. Read on to learn about degree programs and training in neonatal nursing. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How Do I Train for Neonatal Nursing?

Before becoming a neonatal nurse, you must first earn a registered nurse (RN) license. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the three options for becoming a registered nurse are earning a bachelor's degree, an associate's degree or a diploma in nursing (www.bls.gov). The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs are available at many accredited schools. Diploma programs are usually offered through a participating hospital.

After completing your education, you'll be eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), which is proctored by the National Council of Nursing Boards. While neonatal nurse practitioners are RNs, they're also classified as advanced practice nurses. These types of nurses require a minimum of a master's degree.

Can I Complete Training Online?

Distance learning options are available for prospective nurses. Although limited, you can complete programs such as the BSN, RN-BSN, Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and RN-MSN online. A neonatal practitioner post-master's certificate and an MSN with a concentration in nurse practitioner can also be taken online. Some schools don't require clinical work, but those that do ask that you fulfill it at a location near you.

What Courses Could I Take?

Earning a BSN is a common path to becoming a neonatal nurse. These 4-year programs include general education requirements like writing, literature and biology, but core nursing classes focus on the basics of nursing, anatomy and physiology, human genetics and nutrition. You also spend time going over nursing for various age groups like children, adults and the elderly. You can expect to participate in clinical labs and internship opportunities to gain valuable field experience. Upon completion of the BSN program and passing the NCLEX-RN test, you should gain experience as a neonatal nurse by working pediatrics or newborn intensive care.

The MSN program deals with various aspects of nursing care for newborns like assessment, treatment, drug therapy and pharmacotherapeutics. Classes examine healthcare leadership, infant and newborn pathophysiology, health promotion and neonatal pharmacology. You may also be required to write and research a scholarly paper or master thesis for the completion of this degree program.

What Happens After Graduation?

After you earn an MSN, you can voluntarily seek certification through several organizations, including the National Certification Corporation (NCC). NCC offers many core and specialty designations, such as low risk neonatal nursing, electronic fetal monitoring, neonatal nurse practitioner and maternal newborn nursing. Most of these certifications require at least 24 months of work experience as a licensed RN (www.nccwebsite.org).

As a neonatal nurse, you can find employment in numerous places, such as hospitals, physician's offices and intensive care units. To stay abreast of nursing and legal news and for information on continuing education classes, you could join the National Association of Neonatal Nurses, the American Nurses Association, the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners or the American Society of Registered Nurses.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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