Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Certification and Program Information

Neonatal nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses trained to provide healthcare to newborns under four weeks old in a neonatal care unit. RNs can enroll in a master's degree program in nursing with a specialization in neonatal care nursing.

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Essential Information

Admission to a master's degree program for aspiring neonatal nurse practitioners requires a bachelor's degree and prerequisite coursework in anatomy and physiology, microbiology, nutrition, developmental psychology and statistics. Satisfactory scores on the GRE and letters of reference are also required. Students are required to obtain a registered nurse (RN) license prior to entering the clinical phase of the program.

Neonatal development, feeding patterns, sleep cycles, immunizations and newborn health screenings are explored throughout the program. Most programs include seminars, conferences and a clinical practicum in which students work with infants and neonates at a partnered medical facility. Many programs are designed to accommodate the schedules of working nurses, with full or part-time study offered. While the length of the programs varies, many call for three semesters of full-time study and clinical experience.

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Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Master's Degree

The general nursing curriculum combines studies in health promotion, disease prevention and nursing theories, research and professional practices. Students entering the neonatal nurse practitioner program further explore theories of nursing practice and methods for providing quality healthcare to infants and neonates who are at-risk or in need of critical care. Coursework includes the following:

  • Pharmacology
  • Advanced nursing practice management
  • Neonatal health assessment
  • Neonatal intensive care nursing
  • Neonatal pathophysiology

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nurse practitioners held around 136,060 jobs in the U.S. in 2015, with jobs in this profession expected to increase by 35% between 2014-2024. The median salary for nurse practitioners, including neonatal nurse practitioners, as of May 2015 was $98,190, as reported by the BLS.

Continuing Education and Certification Information

Graduates are eligible to sit for the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner examination, which is administered by the National Certification Corporation. Once passed, graduates gain the certified NNP credential. NNPs are required to complete 45 continuing education credits every three years to maintain certification. Graduates who are interested in careers in research or teaching at the college level can enroll in a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Nursing program.

Neonatal nurse practitioner master's degree programs are available to registered nurses looking to specialize in this area. Studies in topics like neonatal health assessment and neonatal pathophysiology prepare graduates for professional certification and a career within the field.

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