A neonatal nurse career involves working with infants from the moment they are born. Neonatal nurses help care for healthy babies while they are still in the hospital, but the neonatal nurses job becomes particularly important when a baby is born prematurely or with various medical issues and difficulties. Since infants in such situations require around the clock care, it is necessary to have skilled neonatal nurses there to provide care at every moment. They also advise parents on the correct methods to care for their newborn baby. And with a masters degree, a neonatal nurse professional can even become a neonatal nurse practitioner, providing more acute medical care when doctors are absent.
After going to the next level of neonatal nursing with a masters degree in nursing science and after the passage of licensing exams to become a neonatal nursing practitioner, ones salary and job duties can greatly elevate. The average neonatal nurse practitioner salary is approximately $80,000 and may reach six figures after some experience, but the benefits of this job go far beyond the pay rate. Being able to provide a higher level of care to infants while helping educate the next generation of nurses is a challenge yet a great reward in itself.
A neonatal nurse career can be tough. Because newborn babies cannot tell you what is wrong like adults and even young children can, this job requires a greater level of diagnostic skill. There are many cutting edge techniques that one must learn to care for newborns with special needs. And being able to communicate with parents who may sometimes be in great distress also requires a certain level of skill.
Neonatal nurses may work in maternity wards, infant ICU wards, or in private settings working with mothers and infants who need special help and care. Some also work in hospice environments with infants who do not have long to live, which is particularly tough but necessary. And for neonatal nurse practitioners, there are opportunities to work in OB/GYN offices, with a higher neonatal nurse practitioner salary and the responsibility of working directly with parents.