Neonatal Nurse duties and responsibilities

In order to understand the role of neonatal nurses, it is important to know that a professional in this area has to fulfill certain duties and responsibilities.

If you like this interesting profession, it is necessary to know that if you want to be successful in their performance, you must necessarily like to help others, be affectionate, able to work under pressure and also be communicative, since you can find yourself working with a team of collaborating doctors and willing to help those who need it.

The following are the duties, responsibilities and skills that a neonatal nurse in NICU 1 and 2 must have. Those nurses who follow on the job ladder have a profile to fulfill according to the demands of the position.

Responsibilities of the NICU Neonatal Nurse – Level 1

Here are some of the responsibilities of the neonatal nurse:

  • Provide round-the-clock care to newborn and premature infants, as well as those who are critically ill.
  • Assist the NICU physicians in all procedures performed, as well as the performance of medical treatments.
  • Diligently perform medical procedures, such as testing, medication dosing and even intravenous line placement, blood draws, intubation, chest tube placement and other procedures as prescribed by the physician.
  • Neonatal nurses can attend to the basic needs of babies, i.e., grooming, as well as diaper changes.
  • You can comfort both newborn babies and their parents, considering that they are going through a difficult situation.
  • Assist physicians on call in the NICU with various procedures and treatments they deem most pertinent to the patient.
  • Make reasonable use of the medical equipment available in the unit.
  • Provide all the required support to parents and family members.
  • Solve the problems that arise, in addition to maintaining the NICU equipment in good condition.
  • They must have knowledge about physiology as well as various conditions related to babies born prematurely.
  • To guarantee the quality of care applied according to the standard therapeutic norms.
  • Maintain a hygienic working environment, with the help of support staff.
  • Ensure adequate protection of patients, family members and employees, in terms of compliance with infection control policies and protocols.
  • Maintain professional and technical knowledge through constant interaction in educational workshops and publications pertaining to the nursing career.
  • Assign duties according to the complexity of each particular case.

It is relevant to note that the work performed by a nurse is not only limited to the medical environment, such as providing medications, but can easily perform tasks similar to those performed by a mother, such as holding and rocking the babies and even feeding them when needed.

When babies are in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) they are not allowed continuous access, therefore, the only person who will be present to attend to the baby’s needs.

A nurse should always be available to answer any questions parents may have about the baby’s care.

Skills that a NICU Neonatal Nurse should have – Level 1

When a nurse is willing to offer her knowledge in a Neonatal Nursing position she must have certain skills and therefore qualifications, in order to perform well.  Generally speaking, these are as follows:

  • Have excellent critical thinking skills.
  • Ability to be a problem solver.
  • Ability to perform in a high-pressure environment.
  • Have a Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRR) certification.
  • Have detail oriented skills.
  • Able to establish cordial relationships with people.
  • Be trained and graduated from a certified nursing training school.
  • Possess a minimum of one year of medical-surgical experience.
  • Have a state license as a registered nurse.

Responsibilities that a NICU Neonatal Nurse should have – Level 2

  • Review the patient’s history.
  • Be attentive to information provided by other members of the medical team.
  • Reviews diagnoses and laboratory test results and reports any abnormalities.
  • Formulates the plan of care, patient discharge plan.
  • Executes patient care plan, provides care as ordered by physician.
  • Evaluates each patient’s progress against goals and expected outcomes, working with other staff.
  • Provides care based on available evidence and may also participate in research activities within the clinical practice.

Skills required of a NICU Neonatal Nurse – Level 2

  • Possess a current registered nurse license in the state in which he/she works.
  • BLS certification required.


We must not fail to understand that the job of a neonatal intensive care nurse in the United States is based on levels. Each of these tiers requires responsibilities as well as skills.

Marlene J. Shockley

My name is Marlene J. Shockley, and I am a Registered Nurse (RN). I have always been interested in helping people and Nursing seemed like the perfect career for me. After completing my Nursing Degree, I worked in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and home health care. I have also had the opportunity to work as a Travelling Nurse, which has allowed me to see different parts of the country and meet new people. No matter where I am working, I enjoy getting to know my patients and their families and helping them through whatever medical challenges they may be facing.