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Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Programs

Neonatal nursing is the provision of nursing care for newborn infants up to 28 days after birth. The term neonatal comes from neo, "new", and natal, "pertaining to birth or origin".[1] Neonatal nurses are a vital part of the neonatal care team.[2]

There are four different levels of neonatal nursery where a neonatal nurse might work.[3] The updated classification of neonatal levels by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) includes a Level IV.

  • Level I consists of caring for healthy newborns. Level I nurseries are now uncommon in the United States. Healthy babies typically share a room with their mother, and both patients are usually discharged from the hospital quickly.[4]
  • Level II provides intermediate or special care for premature or ill newborns. At this level, infants may need special therapy provided by nursing staff, or may simply need more time before being discharged.
  • Level III, the Neonatal intensive-care unit (NICU), treats newborns who cannot be treated in the other levels and are in need of high technology to survive, such as breathing and feeding tubes. Nurses comprise over 90 percent of the NICU staff.[2]
  • Level IV includes all the skills of the level III but involves the extensive care the most critically and complex newborns. This facility will have 24 hour resident neonatologists and surgeons. They are involved with intricate surgical repairs like congenital cardiac issues and acquired malformations.[5]

Following educational preparation at the master's or doctoral level, NNPs must become board certified by an approved certification body. Board certification must be maintained by obtaining continuing nursing education credits. In the US, board certification is provided through the National Certification Corporation (awards the NNP-BC credential).[2

NNPs primarily provide critical care to neonates in a neonatal intensive care unit. In addition, NNPs may function as a post-discharge and primary healthcare provider for post-NICU infants, provide case management for continuity of care across healthcare settings and communities, and serve as expert consultants to other units such as emergency room, pediatrics, radiology, operating room, primary pediatric/family medicine practices, prenatal services, etc.

Most neonatal practitioner programs will require to you already have two years of full time work experience in a neo natal intensive care unit.

Schools that offer Bachelors for nursing