Registered nurses who have completed an Assosiate’s Degree in nursing can advance their career and specialize in neonatal nursing. On the surface, becoming a neonatal nurse seems like a very rewarding profession, where nurses can utilize both their communication and administrative skills together with their nursing skills. In order to specialize in neonatal nursing, you would need a bachelor’s degree and additional certification. In addition, there are a few other aspects of working in neonatal nursing that you should be aware of before deciding to take your career in that direction.
1. Further Certification
You need at least 2000 hours of experience in neonatal nursing, together with a bachelor’s degree in nursing. You can get registered as a neonatal nurse and receive certification from the National Certification Corporation. However, in addition to that, you can sit the licensure national exam and get a license as a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. You will need to attend two more years of schooling and obtain deep knowledge of embryology, neonatal physiology, pathology, and pharmacology, because of the delicacy of infant care, you will need to undergo additional training at neonatal departments in hospitals or private clinics.
2. Tough work environment
A neonatal nurse will take care of more than one baby at a time. You should also be prepared to do administrative tasks, as well as undertake careful monitoring of all babies under your care and prepare a report for the neonatal nurses that will come in the next shift after your own. You need higher communication skills than normal to achieve this, and must be able to work within a team. You also need to know how to educate parents and family members on the baby’s condition – especially if it is serious, you will need to do this in a polite and calm manner as to ensure they do not panic.
3. Most rewarding nursing career
While you might need to work in a fast paced and tough environment, you will also be having one of the most rewarding careers. Of course, most careers in medicine are rewarding – there is nothing more rewarding than helping people when they need help the most, but here you are helping infants and newborns who have been born with such difficulties that it’s a miracle they are alive. And as a neonatal nurse, you would be helping these infants survive not only to toddlerhood, but adulthood as well.
4. Psychologically demanding
On the other side of the coin is the fact that you need to be psychologically strong to take on the responsibility. There is also a chance you will witness infant death, and added to that, you will need to know how to deliver the news to family members, and how to console them. It requires a lot of patience, and all of that is added to the fact that there will be occasions where you will need to think on your feet and make quick decisions which will save an infant’s life.