If you adore babies, enjoy science, and a have a passion for helping others, a career as a neonatal nurse may be right for you. Neonatal nurses provide care for infants and toddlers; generally, the cut-off age for children that they care for is two years of age. Check out these facts about the profession of neonatal nursing.
1. There Are Different Levels of Neonatal Nursing Units
There are three levels of neonatal nursing. Each level has distinct levels of care that they provide to patients.
Level one neonatal nursing involves caring for healthy infants. Situations that involve this care include working as a nurse in a hospital nursery setting for newborn babies.
In level two neonatal nursing, nurses work with infants and toddlers who require special care. These children may be suffering from an illness or babies who were premature at birth.
Nurses who work in level three neonatal units care for infants and toddlers who are too sick to be in the level two unit. Patients in this unit require extensive, around-the-clock care.
2. There Is Room for Advancement
Entry level neonatal nurses must have a Bachelor of Science degree that enables them to work as a registered nurse. In addition to their education, they must be properly certified in neonatal care and work in a hospital setting for a specified number of years.
The next step is to obtain a Master of Science degree in nursing. With this degree, neonatal nurses are the path to working as neonatal nurse practitioners or neonatal nurse specialists.
3. Shifts Vary Dramatically
Neonatal nurses who work in a hospital setting find that there is a plethora of different shift options available. They can work part time or full time hours. Many neonatal nurses work 12-hour shifts for three to four days and then have three to four days off. Other nurses work 12-hours shifts predominantly during the weekend (Friday through Sunday).
Another shift possibility for nurses is to work rotating 12-hour shifts, meaning that they work a combination day and night shifts.
Nursing positions that involve eight-hour shifts as not as predominant, but they are out there.
4. Work is Available Outside of a Hospital Setting
The majority of neonatal nurses work in a hospital setting, but there are positions available outside of the hospital. One position is working as an at-home neonatal nurse for babies who require some type of medical care. These babies may require breathing assistance, a feeding tube, or other special care. You travel to the patient's home to help their parents provide the correct care for their baby.
When deciding on a career, pick an area that you are passionate about. If you enjoy the world of medicine and like to be around babies, neonatal nursing may be the field for you. Contact a company like Kidz Medical Services to learn more.