Purpose and Mission
A neonatal nurse is a registered nurse and/or midwife who is trained to provide care for the preterm infant (neonate). These RNs take additional academic coursework and clinical experience to learn the intricacies of neonatal medicine.
Neonatal nurses are employed in a number of settings, and their job may include clinical, educational, managerial and research roles. These professionals usually work in a neonatal special care unit/nursery (SCN), special care baby unit (SCBU), neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), or nursery (NICN), postnatal ward, emergency unit, or similar facility.
For the most part, neonatal nurses are employees of large public or private hospitals, or university teaching hospitals, and typically report to a nursing supervisor or a chief of service or department head.
Some senior neonatal nurses may have notable supervisory responsibilities, such as responsibility for the unit during her shift and training and evaluating other nurses and healthcare professionals. Less experienced NICU nurses are usually more focused on patient care.
You must work for a few years as a registered nurse (typically requires at least a bachelor’s degree), and then complete additional training to become a neonatal nurse. Many employers prefer neonatal nurses with one or more relevant professional certifications, and a significant number of NICU nurses are also registered midwives.
Keep in mind all RNs and midwives must have a current Nursing Registration with the AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioners Agency) in order to work hands-on with patients.
Responsibilities of a Neonatal Nurse
A neonatal nurse works to ensure that all patient care is planned, implemented, and evaluated at the highest possible standard. They always make sure that the well-being of the neonate and family is the primary focus of care. Primary activities include assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation of care together with the family and the healthcare team to achieve optimal health outcomes.