What does a Neonatal Nurse practitioner do?

In order to know what a neonatal nurse does, it is first necessary to know what their job means. A neonatal nurse is a staff that helps newborn babies that for some reason may present problems.

Some of these problems may be deformities at birth, malformations and even prematurity, among others, i.e., in general terms, to perform the proper and timely care of the baby in certain health conditions that require attention. This can perfectly provide from those minimum care to those that involve some complexity.

One of the interesting facts to know is that in the United States each year about 40,000 babies are born with very low birth weight. It is therefore important to make every effort to ensure that they achieve their proper weight, with the necessary care.

Why is a neonatal nurse important?

A neonatal nurse is usually a professional who can simply leave an indelible mark on the lives of those families who need one. This is mainly because they come to assist the baby when it arrives in this world.

They are perfectly trained in the care of those newborn babies until they reach the first month of existence.

Professional alternatives for a neonatal nurse

This is a professional who excels in several options in her performance, such as:

  • Specially technical attention to babies suffering from diseases that require care.
  • Special attention to babies who are connected to a respirator.
  • Assisting medical personnel who deliver a low birth weight and premature baby.
  • Experienced nurses may be responsible for staffing the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and its proper administration.

How you can become a neonatal nurse 

It is important to consider certain steps in order to become a neonatal nurse.

First, you must complete undergraduate training, which is obtained by enrolling in an accredited graduate school and usually lasts about 4 years. Likewise, if a person has a degree in another field, he or she can easily obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).

If one wants to continue working in what is called advanced practical nursing, it is necessary to pursue a doctoral degree.

What a neonatal nurse can do

A person who wants to become a neonatal nurse must know what the occupation entails.  To do this, he or she can perform the following activities:

  • Care for babies who are newborns.
  • Help parents, especially new parents, hold, bathe, and feed their baby.
  • Provide care and follow-up at home for babies who are at high risk.
  • Work seamlessly in hospitals, clinics and even in the community.
  • Carefully observe those babies who present circulation problems, as well as blood oxygenation problems, constantly checking their vital signs.
  • Help babies to have close contact with their mother from the moment they are born.
  • Assist babies in the NICU 24 hours a day.

Duties to be performed by a neonatal nurse according to each case to be treated

The care provided by a neonatal nurse is usually broken down into three levels:

  • Level I: This level includes those babies who are healthy and in the mother’s care, in the room designated for this purpose.
  • Level II: This level includes newborn babies who are premature or born with an illness that requires immediate attention. An example of this is primary care for newborns who require special attention, such as specialized feeding, oxygen placement and medication administration. All of this with the purpose of allowing them to recover quickly and be discharged.
  • Level III: Here, newborn babies requiring care in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) receive special attention. In this unit, neonatal nurses attend those babies who present congenital problems, premature or who require special and detailed attention. Because they present this kind of pathology, they require detailed and detailed attention, for example, is the performance of surgeries, specialized equipment for their care.

Personal skills that a neonatal nurse needs to have

While it is true that the staff dedicated to caring for babies must possess some personal skills that will help them do their job better, these are some of them:

  • Special interest in caring for newborns.
  • Possessing personal skills.
  • Empathy.
  • Ability to perform in an appropriate professional work environment.
  • Able to work in highly competitive environments.
  • Adequate knowledge of the various needs that a newborn may have.


Much can be said about the role of a neonatal nurse in the world, including the benefit for millions of babies who are in a delicate situation or who come to need special attention.

In the same way, it is an indispensable support to parents who are going through a moment of distress or stress.

A neonatal nurse is perfectly qualified to act diligently, both in cases where the baby requires little time for recovery, to those cases that require a little more dedication in view of the pathology they present.

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.