Maternal and neonatal nursing professionals provide care to expectant mothers in maternity wards and newborn infants. Neonatal and maternal nurses are registered nurses who have additional training, working with women who are expecting. Continue reading to learn about the responsibilities of maternal and neonatal nurses, the academic requirements and the licensure and certification requirements.
Maternal and neonatal nurses work with mothers and babies throughout labor and delivery. Maternal and neonatal nurses strive to make the delivery process easier and reduce the risk of death and other complications. You may also care for infants, particularly at-risk newborns, during the first few weeks of their lives. Other responsibilities include follow-up care, regular check-ups and newborn assessments.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), registered nurses (RNs) should be compassionate, detail-oriented and able to cope well with the suffering of other people (www.bls.gov). They also need to be able to assess patients' conditions. You may find this job difficult because you're likely to work sick babies, and can get attached to them, particularly if the infants are in intensive care for a lengthy time.
In 2010, more than 2.6 million people worked as registered nurses, according to the BLS. This number includes RNs, nurse practitioners, advanced practice nurses, clinical nurse specialists and nurses working in every specialty. The BLS projected that between 2008-2018 the employment of RNs should increase by 22%. As of May 2010, the median annual No InterWiki reference defined in properties for Wiki called "salary for RNs} http"! was $64,690, reported the BLS. According to Payscale.com, the average annual salary for neonatal nurse practitioners was $79,985 as of December 2011.
To work in maternal and neonatal nursing, you must be a registered nurse (RN), so you must have at least an associate's degree. However, in most cases, additional certification is required to work in specialized areas, such as neonatal intensive care units. It's common to earn your nursing license by completing an associate's or bachelor's degree program in nursing and passing the state nursing license. Then, you can earn a master's or doctoral degree as a neonatal nurse practitioner or as a family nurse practitioner with an emphasis in neonatal nursing.
In a neonatal nurse practitioner master's or doctoral degree program, you'll learn about the female menstrual cycle, pregnancy, the nutritional needs of pregnant women and the development and physiology of a fetus. You'll study the process of monitoring a woman during labor, the drugs used and how they affect the fetus and the woman during the birthing process. You may also learn to prepare the family for their new family member. Some courses involve completing simulated births, so you know how to react during emergencies and can stabilize the mother and save the infant. You'll also complete clinical practicums under the supervision of licensed neonatal nurses and doctors and conduct researching in nursing, with a focus on neonatal nursing.
Upon graduation from a master's or doctoral degree program in neonatal nursing, you're eligible to take the certification exam, according to the National Association of Neonatal Nurses (www.nannp.org). To take the Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing or the Maternal Newborn certification exams, you must have at least 2,000 hours working in the neonatal specialty. As a nurse practitioner, you'll have more responsibilities; you can act as a primary care provider, write prescriptions and diagnose illnesses.