February 24, 2011 | Lindsey Clair, Moms in School | 11 Comments There is just something special and sweet about newborn babies that moms just can’t get enough of. How about moms that are neonatal nurses? I think there is an extra dosage of special and sweet thrown into the mix when caring for a newborn, especially ones with special needs. This sounds like such a rewarding profession and guess what? It truly is. This I know to be true based on statements from a friend who is currently a neonatal nurse. There are a lot of steps to get there but if you put one foot forward you may just become the neonatal nurse that you have always dreamed of. Before I discuss how to become a neonatal nurse lets take a brief look at what exactly a neonatal nurse is and what the job entails. Definition of Neonatal Nurse According to allnursingschools.com, “neonatal nurse specialists focus on the care of newborn infants.” “They may care for healthy infants, provide focused care for premature or ill newborns, or work exclusively with seriously ill newborns in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).” Not only do neonatal nurses work with infants, they also get to work with the parents and other nurses to ensure proper care. If this is something that may be of interest to you or it is something you have been desiring for a long time, it’s not too late.If you need help in deciding if this is the right profession for you read the “Neonatal Nurse Specialist Career Overview” on allnursingschools.com. Education In order to become a degree’d, certified, and licensed neonatal nurse, here are the steps you need to follow in order to make it reality: Enroll in an accredited nursing program and obtain a general nursing degree. An example of this would be to enroll in a 2 year program at a community college and receive an Associate’s Degree in nursing. Work towards a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing with a concentration in child or infant care. Areas of Certification Neonatal Resuscitation Provider– The Resuscitation of a newborn Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing– The care of pre-term or at-term newborns experiencing complications. Neonatal Nurse Practitioner– The care of critically ill or premature infants in major hospitals. “Many neonatal nurses are certified in two or more of these areas” according to Ezmeralda Lee on eHow.com. She also states that it is essential for a nurse to obtain at least two to three years nursing experience before applying to major hospitals with open neonatal nurse positions. What kind of salary can a neonatal nurse expect to see while working in this field? According to the free salary wizard on salary.com, the median salary for a nurse practitioner residing in the United States is about $80,414. 50 percent of nurse practitioners earn between $73,840 and $87,008. This is $20,000 more than what RN’s make in a year. The demand for becoming a neonatal nurse is increasing due to the rise of low birth weight in infants. Fortunately, infant survival has improved a great deal within the past few years. This is due to the continuing and growing skills of doctors and nurse specialists. (National Association of Neonatal Nurses, 2009) If you are going to school to become a neonatal nurse or you are currently a neonatal nurse, what are some tips and advice you could share with those considering becoming a neonatal nurse? Please feel free to share your experiences with us.