When a baby is born, it needs to receive a series of attentions from the nursing staff to ensure that it is a healthy baby and the quality of life it will have in the future. The correct evaluation of a newborn baby in its first hours of life is fundamental to detect any problem that may affect its quality of life.
If there is any type of malformation or congenital disease, the baby should be referred to the corresponding medical specialist for appropriate treatment. Parents should receive proper guidance to prevent them from making mistakes or having accidents when feeding their baby.
Who are the nursing professionals who perform all these tasks when a baby is born? They are the Neonatal Nurses.
The work of Neonatal Nurses
Neonatal Nurses are in charge of caring for newborn babies after delivery. Whether it is a healthy baby, a premature baby or a baby born with an illness, the Neonatal Nurse is the one who will be with him in his first days of life or in his first months in case he has an illness.
Neonatal Intensive Care Nurses, also called NICU nurses, provide various levels of care and support to newborn babies and their families. They provide care for both healthy babies and those with health problems. They are professionals dedicated to providing care and support to the newborn baby.
The professional training they receive enables them to perform successfully in a variety of roles in nurseries, delivery rooms and hospital intensive care units. Other neonatal nursing settings include maternity centers, home care, community health centers, among others.
Neonatal Nurses work with medical professionals who have the training and expertise to work with newborn infants; healthy, sick or premature. They are trained to care for up to four newborns, actively monitoring their conditions constantly.
Their work shifts are usually longer than those of other nurses, and they can work any shift, depending on the needs of the service. The Neonatal Nurse is in charge of constantly monitoring the babies’ vital signs, administering intravenous fluids and medications.
They are also in charge of providing the feeding and comfort required by all the newborns in their care.
What are the primary responsibilities of a Neonatal Nurse?
- Provide excellent patient care.
- Create individualized care plans.
- Document patient progress and status.
- Strong observational skills.
Traits a neonatal nurse needs to have
- Social perception.
- Service orientation
- Communication skills.
- Oral and written comprehension.
What does it take to become a Neonatal Nurse?
Anyone who aspires to be a Neonatal Nurse must first obtain a Bachelor Of Science Degree in Nursing or an Associate’s Degree. They must also have a valid unencumbered registered nurse license and meet the licensure requirements of the state in which they wish to practice.
Neonatal nurses may choose to:
- Pursue a postgraduate degree to become an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN).
- Pursue a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) to become certified as a Neonatal Nurse.
Levels of care for Neonatal Nurses
There are three levels of care for Neonatal Nurses, which have different workloads and duties:
- Level 1 Neonatal Nurses: work with healthy newborn infants in the newborn nursery.
- Level 2 Neonatal Nurses: These neonatal professionals work with babies in intermediate neonatal intensive care, such as premature but healthy babies.
- Level 3 Neonatal Nurses work with babies who need constant monitoring and care due to illness, health problems of various kinds or even severe birth injuries.
Level 1 Neonatal Care
Neonatal care in the United States is classified into three different levels, with specific responsibilities. Level I provides care for healthy full-term infants. These babies are not kept in the neonatal intensive care unit, as is often the case for premature or sick babies.
These babies are placed in the newborn nursery. There is less demand for Level I Nursing Care in this area because these babies spend more time in the room with their mothers and go home more quickly.
Neonatal Nurses are trained to care for both healthy babies and babies born prematurely or with medical or health problems. They have the necessary academic preparation to perform the pertinent examinations and accompany the baby until he/she has to go home.