Neonatal Nurse – All About Neonatal Nurses

Neonatal Nurse

Do you want to know everything about the neonatal nurse? Including everything from a job description, education, requirements, salary, and how to become a one? That’s great because you have just found the place for all this information.

Before we begin, let me introduce myself to you. My name is Ida, and I’m a registered nurse (RN) and a public health nurse. I’ve completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN) which is also one possible education path to become a neonatal nurse.

As a registered nurse I could apply for a job as a neonatal nurse. More about the education and requirements are coming up later down this article. Clicking on these links you get scrolled down to right spots.

I hope this short introduction gave me some trustworthiness to tell you about this subject.

Now let’s find out what is a neonatal nurse and what they do for a living.

What is neonatal nurse?

I’m going to give you two options. You can either watch this video from the National Association of Neonatal Nurses or scroll past it to read what I have written. Either way, you’ll get the same information.

Neonatal nurses are superheroes of hospitals and clinics – they are lifesavers of newborn babies. It’s been said that neonatal nursing is a perfect marriage between the art of nursing and the science of nursing.

How does it feel to be workings as one of them? Here are some quotes from people who work as one of them sharing their own experiences:

I really feel that it’s a privilege to get to work with families to be involved in such an intimate time in their lives to be involved in the family – really become almost one of the family members.

Jason Yakes, RN

Are you feeling that connection like Jason does too?

Working with patients and families is the most rewarding part of the job. You are there at their birth which no family forgets that day. That is like the most important day to them. And when their baby finally gains weight or comes off breathing support I just love being there for all those milestones.

Hayley Goward, BSN RNC-NIC CBC

Like Jason and Hayley described it above, you’ll be a crucial part of families’ lives in the hectic times.

But is that the case? Is that all about what neonatal nurses are? Definitely not.

Next, I’m going to tell you what do they do while at work.

What does neonatal nurse do?

In theory, they work with newborn babies up to 28 days old. The term “neonatal” actually refers to it.

In practice, they’ll work with newborn babies for a longer period of time than that. There might be a case where the baby born prematurely and they need to work with that baby for months, maybe even up to a couple of years.

In neonatal nursing, there are three to four levels in which each one will have different types of duties.

Three to four different levels? What does that mean?

The American Academy of Pediatrics introduced the fourth level of neonatal nursing in 2012. Please note that this fourth level only applies to the USA. Other countries like Canada, Australia, etcetera have only three levels of neonatal nursing.

What do they do in each of the levels? Let me explain these to you.

  • Level I nurses mainly work with healthy newborn babies. They may supervise and watch the baby and take care of the baby in the nursery section.
  • Level II nurses will also work with ill and premature newborn babies.
  • Level III nurses deal with babies that are moved to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). If you want to learn how to become a NICU nurse, check this article of ours.
  • Level IV of neonatal nursing applies only to the United States. In this last level, they’ll take care of the most critically and complex newborn babies.

Are you interested in how to become a one? Move to that article of ours which covers all about it.

Even though neonatal nursing is a vocation for many, at some point everyone will think about the money for a while. Next up, I’m going to give you the best possible answer to the question: “How much are they making money?”.

If you are more interested in nursing salaries check out this article of ours: Do Nurses Make Good Money? After that, you’ll know all about the nursing salaries.

How much does neonatal nurse make?

Okay, so how much does neonatal nurse make money on average or per hour?

According to PayScale and Glassdoor, the salary on average is between $43k and $102k in the USA. But how about the starting salary? Or the salary in the state of California, Florida or Texas? How about other countries than the United States?

I’ve written a full-depth article about Neonatal Nurse Salary that covers all you will ever need to know about it.

I urge you to take a closer look at that if you want to know everything about the salaries.

Neonatal nurse requirements

I got to tell you that becoming a neonatal nurse is not a simple task to take. But for sure, it is not impossible.

Requirements vary mostly depending on the country you are at. That’s why I separated these according to countries.

Requirements in the USA

First, you must have an Associate’s Degree in Nursing or a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing to graduate as a registered nurse. Here you learn some more about the ADN vs BSN.

Some hospitals and institutes may accept newly graduated registered nurses who have passed the NCLEX-RN examination. Others may require you to have experience in adult-health or medical nursing.

Besides the requirement of education, you must also have the Neonatal Resuscitation Program completed.

These are the basic requirements in the USA. But is that everything?

You guessed it right, that’s not everything. NICU nurses will need to undergo annual tests and training to maintain contemporary practice.

Requirements in Europe

In Europe, you must have completed, of course, a nursing degree. That degree does not have to include college tuition.

So what you will need for that nursing degree? At least you’ll have to have GCSE (A-C) in Mathematics, English and a science-based subject, and two to three A-levels with one being in biological science.

After you have met these requirements, you are ready to apply for a job.

Requirements in Australia

Australia is a bit different about their requirements than the USA and European countries.

First, you’ll have to graduate as a registered nurse. After that, you will need two years of practical nursing experience. With two years of experience, you are eligible to undertake postgraduate studies in neonatal nursing.

Now you are able to apply for NICU nurse positions.

Neonatal nurse education

Neonatal Nurse Education

How about the education needed and possible paths? Also, this depends on the country you are in.

Why would I tell you briefly about the education as you can read all about it here: How To Become A Neonatal Nurse. That article covers all you will ever need to know about education.

Here are some noteworthy articles related to this one. Check these out if you would like to learn some more:

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About Ida Koivisto, BSN, RN, PHN

Ida is both a registered nurse and public health nurse. Her passion is to provide as much valuable information about nursing to the world as possible. In her spare time from work and blogging, Ida loves to work out at the gym and spend time with relatives.