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Neonatal Nursing

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Neonatal Nursing is the medical specialty of caring for newborn infants through the first 28 days of life. Combining the terms “neo” meaning new, and “natal” meaning birth, neonatal nursing is one of the most vital branches of the nursing profession, taking care of the most vulnerable of patients and helping to ensure a healthy and prosperous future for patient and parents.

Neonatal Nursing

Neonatal Nursing Care

Neonatal nursing involves caring for babies with a potential host of medical problems from prematurity, low birth weight, birth defects to surgical needs. There are four levels of neonatal care, as outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

  1. Level I includes the standard of care for healthy newborns.
  2. Level II deals with premature infants requiring more time in the hospital before discharge.
  3. Level III often comprises infants assigned to the NICU, or neo-natal intensive care unit.
  4. Level IV neonatal care treats the most critically ill newborns that may require surgery.

Neonatal nursing requires the individual to be a Registered Nurse (RN), possessing either an ASN or BSN degree. RNs must also have certification as a Neonatal Resuscitation Provider in order to work in a NICU. Most neonatal nurses who work in a NICU are required to complete annual testing and recertification due to the specific demands and requirements of working in this environment.

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