Becoming a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner in Pediatrics

The practice for a nurse practitioner encompasses a special mix of medicine and nursing helping connect patient care to cure. There are far fewer physicians opting for entering family-based medical practices in recent years, so many different types of nurse practitioners fill a need for more accessible health care for all.

A Good Beginning
It was at the University of Colorado in 1965 that the first school offered a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program that was originally designed in order to school nursing professionals for greater degree of responsibility when it came to providing quality medical care to children. The actual practices performed by Nurse Practitioners has evolved affording these hard-working individuals with increased authority, greater freedom, increased income and a good deal more job enjoyment and satisfaction.

Practice Environment Reveals Welcome Stimulation

Registered nurses looking for a career option that offers a stimulating practice environment, challenges, and a large degree of autonomy will find becoming a nurse practitioner very rewarding. Responsibilities include many duties that were once only performed by doctors. These duties include going over medical history, patient examinations, ordering and examining diagnostic tests, diagnosing and treating injuries and infections and writing prescriptions. Any observer taking a closer look will see many of the tasks performed by Nurse Practitioners on a regular basis today in many different medical practices. This is particularly true in many areas of women-based medical practices such as Neonatal Nurse Practitioners (NNP).

Caring for the Newborn

This is a specialized practice involved in advanced care for newborns with a variety of conditions requiring individual treatment in a hospital neonatal intensive care units, or referred to as NICUs. Prematurity, sepsis, respiratory distress, and disorders or abnormalities requiring surgery are a few of the common diagnoses found among infants in NICUs. Neonatal Nurse Practitioners manage neonatal patients using extensive knowledge of pathophysiology, pharmacology, and physiology, the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner exercises independent judgment in the assessment, diagnosis and initiation of nursing and delegated medical processes and procedures. In addition to providing the necessary hands-on medical care, Neonatal Nurse Practitioners spend a good deal of time educating and advocating a healthier lifestyle for women wishing to become pregnant and begin a “new” life as a mother. Communicating with empathy is important to narrow the divide between patient and professional also. There are several steps that need to be taken that will lead to a most satisfying career as a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner including:

Complete a Nursing Program
To become a nurse, you must complete a nursing program that leads to a registered nurse (RN) certification. These bachelor’s degree programs concentrate on medical terminology, human anatomy, hospital operations and nursing fundamentals. These programs may include clinical work, which allows you to gain hands-on training in the field.

Earn a Master’s Degree
To qualify for certification as a NNP, you need a master’s degree in neonatal nursing. These programs specialize in neonatal care courses; such as fetus anatomy, pediatric pharmacology, embryology, pharmacotherapeutics and neonatal care basics. Some of the neonatal nurse practitioner programs are available over the Internet or in blended (online and on-campus) formats. In either situation, you’ll complete a neonatal clinical that provides experience working in neonatology.

Become Licensed
To become an RN or a licensed practical nurse (LPN) you must sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). This exam is created and offered through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. To qualify to take the exam, you must meet requirements set by your state’s Board of Nursing.

Gain Certification
The National Certification Corporation (NCC) offers the national neonatal nurse practitioner certification. The certification exam can be completed on the computer or in a testing facility. In order to sit for the exam, you must be a registered nurse. You also must have completed a post-baccalaureate program in neonatal nursing. The NCC’s website provides sample questions and exam applications.

Begin Working in the Field
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that employment for registered nurses was estimated to grow by 22 percent from 2008-2018. More specifically, job growth was expected to be about 17 percent in hospitals, which is a smaller growth, but does not mean there won’t be jobs available in hospitals. You may not have trouble finding work in hospitals because they tend to have a high turnover of workers. Additionally, nurse practitioners are expected to have excellent job opportunities in rural and inner city settings.