Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

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BASIC DESCRIPTION

Neonatal nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses who specialize in providing care to acutely ill babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). These nurses have advanced skills in physical and psychosocial assessment of the newborn, and handle transport of acutely ill babies. The environments in which neonatal nurse practitioners work are very intense and dramatic, often with nonstop action.

EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS

Registered nurse preparation and Master of Science in Nursing with advanced practice certification as a neonatal nurse practitioner are required. Programs are generally 2 years in length. These programs are affiliated with major medical centers that are equipped to care for premature babies. Previous experience in the NICU is usually a requirement for admission to a neonatal nurse practitioner program.

CORE COMPETENCIES/SKILLS NEEDED

■ Technical competency involving use of complex and computerized equipment
■ Skill in regulating ventilators
■ Hemodynamic monitoring skills
■ Experiences and expertise in assessing and managing acutely ill babies
■ Skill in obtaining blood samples from central intravenous lines
■ Interpersonal competency dealing with patients and their families in life-threatening situations
■ Ability to work with interdisciplinary teams
■ Ability to support parents’ decisions even when you do not agree
■ Comfort working with very small babies

RELATED WEB SITES AND PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

■ American Association of Nurse Practitioners (www.aanp.org)
■ Nurse Practitioner Support Services (www.nurse.net)
■ Pediatric Critical Care Medicine (www.pedsccm.wust1.edu)
■ Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (www.awhonn.org/)
■ National Association of Neonatal Nurses (www.nann.org/)
■ American Nurses Association Credentialing Center (www.ana.org)

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