For any registered nurses looking to expand their career further and begin the next step, becoming a neonatal nurse practitioner is an extremely beneficial role to not only you but the families you’ll be helping. The impact neonatal nurses make on families is unmeasurable.
As a neonatal nurse practitioner, you will be helping newborn babies and their families through some of their darkest times. Babies that have complications when they’re born or are born prematurely are taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to be carefully monitored and looked after by NNPs. The babies are in need of care 24 hours a day while being incubated. The families also need experienced medical professionals to help them understand what is happening to their child, but also to reassure them.
It isn’t always smooth sailing and can be stressful at times, but the importance of this role is indescribable. Here are three reasons why neonatal nursing is a fulfilling occupation.
As you can imagine, knowing that your newborn baby requires intensive medical care because of any kind of complication is heartbreaking. Parents can feel so guilty for their babies having to go through these situations at such a young age, that it can majorly affect their mental health. Therefore, while the baby is obviously the priority, the parents will need a lot of care and comfort too.
Parents are petrified when their baby is in a life-threatening situation, so keeping them up to date with their child’s health status is imperative. Building a relationship with the parents is key, and letting them lean on you and trust you will be such a relief to them. Some parents also have trouble bonding with their baby if the infant is immediately taken to the NICU, and some will have never held their baby before. Having a parent connect with their baby is crucial whether they’re in the NICU or not, but when the parents aren’t necessarily the primary caregivers in this early stage of life, it is so hard to deal with.
Before leaving the NICU, parents will need guidance on how to administer medications or help feed their babies, etc., as they may need more care then they anticipated. But at the end of this troubling time, the most gratifying feeling is seeing parents walk out of the unit with their baby in their arms, overjoyed at the fact that they can properly begin their lives together. Some parents, however, will suffer the loss of their baby, and in that case, the parents will need a huge amount of care and support.
Helping the Babies
It may seem daunting, the idea of a vulnerable, tiny baby completely relying on you and your team of neonatal nurses to get better. However, knowing that you are the reason why a child has a chance to live and be healthy makes everything about the role worthwhile. Some of the duties as a neonatal nurse practitioner to newborn babies include checking vital signs, managing the incubators and ventilators, giving blood tests and not just ordering, but administering medical tests.
It is also up to the neonatal nurse to draw up treatment plans for the babies, and also prescribe medicine. It can be hard on the NNPs when working with a baby for quite some time that isn’t responding well to treatment, but to keep giving the best care that you possibly can, emotions have to come after your role. When caring for the babies, it can be significantly harder to find out what they need specifically. They can’t tell you what hurts or tell you when they need something, so looking for signs or changes is so important. Noticing the tiniest of details can sometimes save a life, so observation is key.
Personal Advantages and Advancements to Your Career
Moving on to the next stage of your career is an important step in any profession. NNP programs from institutions like Baylor University are a great way to gain experience and provide you with all the skills and qualifications needed to become a fully registered doctoral level neonatal nurse practitioner. Doing the course will give you all the tools you need to be independent in this line of work.
To become a neonatal nurse practitioner, it is imperative that you have a genuine interest in helping other people and have a genuine care for children. It is not by any means a 9-5 job to pay the bills; it is a duty of care to others. That being said, the starting salary of a neonatal nurse practitioner is $107,550, which is the highest paying area of practitioner nurses. It is a highly recognized job role in the nursing field, and NNPs are highly sought-after across the US.
You can apply to be a short-term neonatal nurse practitioner which will allow you to travel all across the US if you wish to explore different locations. Also, you can earn slightly more with being a short-term travel nurse.
As you can see, becoming a neonatal nurse practitioner does hold many responsibilities, but undertaking training will completely set you up to tackle any challenges head-on with the correct knowledge. You will have such a big impact on so many people’s lives, and much more so on the babies you help and care for. Becoming an NNP offers so many great benefits to you personally, with the ability to travel a huge bonus.
The main point with going into the NNP role is to be prepared, independent, and prepared to face obstacles and situations that are alarming and upsetting. On the other hand, you will experience so much joy when you see how much you yourself helped so many families! The moment you see a family you’ve supported and cared for walk out of the door all thanks to you, you will never feel anything like it. So, why not apply? Take your career to the next step, do something that so many people respect and honor, and save so many lives.