Neonatal Nurse Practitioner: Job Description & Salary

Neonatal Nurse is a standout amongst the most prevalent vocations in the medicinal services industry. With the continuous nearness of infants, and the expanding number of guardians who require help with giving proficient additional care to their children, neonatal medical attendants have promising open doors later on.

As indicated by the U.S. Division of Labor, human services suppliers are as of now including normal of 20,000 new employments for every month.

Not just in the U.S, neonatal medical caretaker has likewise turned out to be a standout amongst the most looked for after professions in Canada, UK, and Australia.

Here you can discover anything identified with neonatal medical caretaker; the Salary, Programs, and other vital data to end up a neonatal attendant specialist (NNP) in the U.S.

As prerequisites and different conditions are diverse in different nations, for those of you who dwell outside the United States, we recommend you visit the proper area inside this site.

What is a Neonatal Nurse?

A neonatal nurse is a registered nurse (RN) who provides nursing care for newborns. Most neonatal nurses care for infants until they are released from the hospital, but due to certain health problems, a neonatal nurse might provide nursing care much longer.

In the United States alone, more than 40,000 infants are born each year with low birth weights, and thanks to the efforts of medical practitioners, survival rates are now 10 times better than a decade ago.

What is a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP)?

A neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP) is an advanced practice nurse who specializes in providing care to acutely ill infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

NICU is a special area of a hospital that is devoted to the care of critically ill babies. Normally a NICU is completely separated from the nursery for healthy newborns, and may not even be in the same building. The staff for the NICU and the staff for the newborn nursery are completely separated as well.

A neonatal nurse practitioner is a professional registered nurse with clinical experience in neonatal nursing, especially in the NICU. A formal education of Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice is also required for the profession.

Commonly, to pursue an MSN degree, you must have at least 2 years of experience as a registered nurse in a Level III (or equivalent) NICU within the last 5 years.

What is a Neonatal Nurse Job Description?

So what does a neonatal nurse do?

Although basically (according to the American Academy of Pediatrics), neonatal nurses can work in either a Level I, II, or III nursery, nowadays almost all of them only work in Level II and III.

Level II is considered a special care nursery. A neonatal nurse who works in this level may take care of premature babies and those with certain illnesses.

Here are several things you might do as a neonatal nurse:

  • Attend a premature infant’s delivery
  • Assisting a new mother with breastfeeding
  • Providing highly technical care for an acutely ill infant
  • Providing supportive care for a mildly ill newborn
  • Dealing with an infant who is on a ventilator
  • Caring for an infant who needs several IV medications
  • Work with parents and families to integrate them into the care you provide

Level III is the NICU, where infants need high technology care, requiring special equipment or surgery. This is where neonatal nurse practitioners (NNPs) do their jobs.

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) Job Description

A neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP) is an advanced practice nurse who works with physicians and nursing staff to provide comprehensive critical care to the infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

As an NNP, you will be involved in more advanced procedures such as:

  • Line placements
  • Incubations
  • Lumbar punctures
  • Newborn resuscitation
  • Education of other members of the neonatal team
  • Medical research
  • Consultation

A NNP executes free judgment in appraisal, analysis, incitement of alloted restorative systems, and assessment, lucid with state nurture rehearse laws, institutional rules, and the NNP’s instruction and experience.

How to Become a Neonatal Nurse?

First, you have to enroll in an accredited school of nursing, and you have 3 options for this:

  1. A baccalaureate degree
  2. An associate degree
  3. A diploma degree

A Baccalaureate Degree

  • Through a college or university
  • Commonly takes 4 years to achieve
  • Most flexible for career path

An Associate Degree

  • Through a junior or community college
  • Commonly takes 2-3 years to achieve

A Diploma Degree

  • Through a hospital based school of nursing
  • Nowadays, very few students take this route due to its inflexibility for career path

You can also enroll in other programs which provide more flexibility for continuing toward a bachelor’s degree. These programs are usually affiliated with a community college.

What if you have a degree in another field?

If this is the case, you can enroll in an accelerated program and obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). This usually takes 1-2 years.

The American Nurses Association (ANA) recommends that in the future, all nurses entering practice as RNs should obtain a Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing (BSN) within 10 years of receiving their first nursing license.

How long does it take to become a neonatal nurse?

It takes 4 years to attain a BSN degree (this is the most recommended path to become a neonatal nurse).

Some facts to become a neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP):

  • A master’s or doctoral is required to become a neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP)
  • In a short time, a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) might be required to work as a neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP) – a bachelor’s degree is required to pursue a DNP
  • You must have a clinical experience in the NICU
  • You should also be nationally certified in the neonatal specialty

Neonatal Nurse Salary

Neonatal nurse salary can vary depending on many factors, such as:

  • Region
  • Experience
  • Education
  • Company size
  • Industry
  • Skills and specialties

Nature of Work

As a neonatal nurse, you can work in a hospital like most do, or have a position in the community, providing home care. In a hospital, you can work in a Level II nursery, with less critically ill infants, or in a Level III nursery, with the most acutely ill infants.

A Level III nursery is commonly known as neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). In a NICU, you might care for one to four infants, and should expect to work extra hard, because patients must be treated around the clock, and even on weekends and holidays.

Most neonatal nurses work 8 to 12-hour day or night shifts. If you work on nights and weekends, you will receive additional compensation.

This information should help you understand better a neonatal nurse’s nature of work, and different conditions can certainly affect the salary significantly.

If you want to know a neonatal nurse salary in your region, you can contact several hospitals where you are interested in working.

Here are some statistics for neonatal nurse salary in the United States…

Neonatal Nurse Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010, the lowest annual salary for registered nurses (including neonatal nurses) is $44,190 and the highest can exceed $95,000. Most registered nurses earn $67,720 every year.

We cannot retrieve the salary of neonatal nurses from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), because they present the data as a whole for registered nurses. However, we think neonatal nurse salary is more or less the same, unlike neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP) salary which is definitely higher.

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) Salary

For neonatal nurse practitioners (NNPs) with less experience, the average annual salary is $80,242. For more experienced nurses, the average annual salary is $91,000-$101,000. We collected this data from various sources and actual reports from employees in various states in 2011.

Salary and Cost of Living

Many people who pursue better salary often forget to include the cost of living index, when looking for the highest-paying states for NNPs. So, if you are looking for a state with a better neonatal nurse salary, don’t forget to find out its cost of living too.

As you can see above, Mississippi is the top paying state for NNPs. Cost of living is also lower in this Mississippi, compared to the average cost of living in other states.

California and Alabama are the 2nd and 3rd top paying states for this career, but Alabama can be a better choice due to its low cost of living. You should remember that the cost of living in California is about 1.5 times higher than Mississippi and Alabama.

Other Statistics

Our latest data shows that in the United States, about 60% of NNPs work in companies with less than 500 employees, 17% in companies with 1,000-7,500 employees, and 20% in companies with more than 15,000 employees. Our record also indicates that the smaller the company size, the higher the salary tends to be.

About 13% of NNPs in the U.S. have a DNP degree and the rest have Master’s.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

We have collected the most frequently asked questions about neonatal nurse practitioner or NNP, and below you can find the answers.

What is the difference between a neonatal nurse and a neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP)?

A neonatal nurse is simply a registered nurse who provides nursing care for newborn.

A neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP) is an acute care practitioner who works in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). NICU deals with infants who have life‐threatening conditions.

How long does it take to become a neonatal nurse practitioner?

Let’s break it down. Here are the steps required to become an NNP, and the time needed to complete each step:

  1. Attain a Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree – 4 years
  2. Get employed in NICU as a registered nurse for at least 2 years
  3. Attain a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) – 3 years

So, it takes about 9 years of education and work experience to become an NNP. In the future, it might take longer, because you will be required to have a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree to become an NNP.

What colleges offer a program where I can finally graduate as a neonatal nurse practitioner?

We have collected a list of schools where yo can attain an MSN or DNP degree. Please visit our Programs page.

How much more does a neonatal nurse practitioner make?

As we mentioned in our page about salary, based on the statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an NNP can earn 1.5 to 2 times bigger than a neonatal nurse. The more experienced an NNP, the higher the salary.

In which state are neonatal nurse practitioners paid the most?

According to statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, NNPs are paid the most in Mississippi. California and Alabama follow behind. But you have to remember that each state also has its cost of living index.

For example, even though you are paid well as an NNP in California, the state has a very high cost of living. Mississippi and Alabama have lower cost of living than the average of U.S. states.

Can an advanced practice nurse (APN) who is not NNP functions in the NNP role to fill vacant positions in NICU?

No, she can’t.

An APN is a primary care nurse practitioner who received formal education on comprehensive primary care. She never received any specialist formal education on the subject of neonatal nursing, which is very necessary to care for critically ill and convalescing infants.

According to the National Associaton of Neonatal Nurses, the very least of NNP curriculum must have 200 neonatal‐specific didactic hours plus a minimum of 600 precepted clock hours with critically ill newborns in level II or level III NICUs.

What is the difference between neonatal nurse practitioner and neonatologist?

They are very different.

First of all, a neonatologist is a physician (MD or DO) practicing neonatology (see: Neonatology) who went for pre-med (4 years), then medical school (4 years), then pediatric residency (3 years) and neonatal fellowship (3 years).

After finishing all of these education programs, a neonatologist become an attending physician who oversees the management of care of the patients on the unit. A neonatologist commonly performs very little hands-on care. On the other hand, working as an NNP is very task based. As an NNP, you will be definitely more bedside-oriented than a neonatologist.

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