What is Neonatal Care?

Neonatal care refers to newborn babies’ care and those born prematurely. Caregivers have to be extra careful while handling delicate infants during and after delivery. Neonatal care is a specialized skill for nurses and caregivers. They require professional training in this regard. Babies born prematurely require help to recover from congenital abnormalities and after surgery. This becomes the job of neonatal nurses.

Neonatal nurses monitor infants in neonatal and intensive care units. They keep an eye on the recovery of infants post-surgery. They have to ensure that the baby is healthy enough for the parents to take home. The initial moments after the baby’s birth are the most crucial. Handling the baby right after birth can be a very delicate task. Therefore, neonatal nurses ensure that the baby’s development is going well. If it is not, they immediately inform the doctor and the surgeon since the baby needs to be taken care of immediately.

It is also the job of a neonatal nurse to provide support to the new mother. Ensure that she is doing well after giving birth, and help her recover post-delivery. This also includes calmly explaining to the mother that the nurse and the doctors care for her baby.

Study Tips for Neonatal Nurses

The delicacy of the matter of handling babies requires specialized certification. In this regard, an NRP Certification is a fully accredited online certification valid for two years. This certified program offers four CEU credits. No matter which medical field you are in currently, you can enroll yourself in the program.

Here are some skills you will learn and will require as a neonatal nurse.

Basic Qualification

Before applying for an advanced certification program, you need to have a basic nursing degree to become a registered nurse. This can be a two-year associate degree program or a four-year Bachelor’s in Science in the nursing program from a medical university. Registered nurses require a certification from the State Board of Nursing to start practicing. The basic requirements of a neonatal nurse can vary from state to state.

To start your practice as a neonatal nurse, employers will require a Neonatal Resuscitation Program Certification (NRP). This certification must be from a fully accredited institution to start your practice. Those caregivers who already work with newborns can pursue this program to sharpen their skills and concepts in neonatal recovery and gain growth prospects in their workplace.

The NRP certification is valid for two years. After that, you will need to renew your certification because of constant changes in neonatal care in the US. However, acquiring this certification will improve your job prospects in neonatal care with a higher salary package because of your skills.

Constant Monitoring

A newborn baby needs to be taken care of 24/7. They are completely dependent on adults to take care of their every need. While the mother is in post-delivery recovery, it becomes the job of neonatal nurses. An infant’s care depends on:

  • The environment
  • The pediatric medical team
  • Parental medical care
  • Constant monitoring

A medical practitioner requires a professional degree to take care of all these needs. The courses offer the best courses of action in case of emergencies and complications. If the infant goes into a cardiopulmonary arrest, it needs to restore heart and lung function through cardiopulmonary resuscitation. A neonatal nurse must know these kinds of tips.

Attention to Detail

Infants and newborns are unable to express themselves and their needs. Therefore, a neonatal nurse must be skilled enough to make the correct estimations. Neonatal care can be more challenging than taking care of adults due to the child’s fragility. A minor change in medications or mishandling of a laboratory specimen can put the infant’s life in more danger.

A neonatal nurse also has to pay attention to the baby’s developmental changes. The baby’s organs develop faster than the adults’ do—especially those of a premature baby. Therefore, a neonatal nurse has to provide extra care for each stage. They also have to monitor the time taken for their development.

Communication Skills

A neonatal nurse must communicate the baby’s progress to the doctors and the parents. The styles of communication with both parties will differ. Neonatal nurses have to be precise in their communication with the doctor and inform them if the baby requires a doctor’s immediate attention. At the same time, they have to be kind and compassionate while communicating with their parents. In such situations, parents are already under stress and exhausted. Therefore, neonatal nurses have to be considerate.

Working in highly critical situations can also affect the nurse emotionally. However, it is best to focus and take a break when required. Neonatal nurses must be skilled in written and verbal communication. They also require drawing charts of the baby’s daily progress to communicate it easily.

The key is to gain the trust of parents who are already worried about their children. The more they trust you and find it easier to talk to you, the easier it will make your job. You will need the parents’ cooperation to be effective in your duties.


As a neonatal nurse, you will not be responsible for just one child. You will be working with several patients at a time in the ICU, emergency units, and maternity wards. You will have to track the progress of each patient regularly. This requires being on your toes and can get very stressful.

Parents can get very nervous and emotional about their baby’s care. Therefore, as a neonatal caregiver, you should be skilled enough to push through and straighten your head. Healthcare professionals cannot risk getting too involved in one case. This can result in the negligence of other cases. You will need to pay equal attention to all the patients. Some babies may require more care than others may. Make sure that you have a backup for that.

Ending Note

A neonatal nursing career can be highly rewarding. If you work with newborn babies, you must get your NRP certification for further career growth and job prospects. I will also help you increase your pay scale.

However, you must develop certain skills to be effective as a neonatal nurse. These include making sure that you acquire the basic qualification in nursing. You can then specialize and pursue an NRP certification to advance your practice as a registered nurse.

Other skills include constant care and monitoring of infants. Babies require constant care, more than adults do. Pay close attention to details regarding the baby’s developmental stages. Ensure proper handling of medications and laboratory specimens.

You will also need certain communication skills. Gaining parents’ trust and cooperation is a highly important component of a neonatal nurse’s job. They can update you regarding the baby’s genetics, which may help you treat the child.

You will be looking after multiple patients at a time. Therefore, you must be able to multitask. Push through a highly dynamic environment and focus on your job since negligence can cost you.

Therefore, gaining a professional certification is essential. It will teach you all these basic skills and more. This will make you more apt and productive at your job.