As an actively practicing nurse, you likely have provided care to patients across a wide age range. In your job, you might find yourself thinking a lot about babies and want to focus your time on them. If so, then becoming a DNP Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) is a great option. But how will you know if it’s the right fit for you? Read on for information about the role to help you decide whether going back to school to get the credentials for this exciting career path will be what’s next for you.
Who Will Your Patients Be?
The first thing you’ll want to decide is whether you are comfortable with the patients who you will provide care to, day in and day out. A neonatal nurse who has graduated from a DNP-NNP program is qualified to work with infants during their first two years of life.
Babies undergo many changes by the time they reach age three, from social and emotional to language, communication, cognitive, and physical development. As you work with the little ones, you will likely find yourself knowing right away when something appears unusual about them.
In fact, when something is seriously wrong is when you will have contact with them in your job. You will work with very ill newborns and infants, which means you might have to put an IV tube into a tiny body that is only the size of your hand.
You will have to know too that not every patient you care for in neonatal intensive care (NICU) will make it, which isn’t something that anyone gets used to. Thus, it’s quite clear that this job is a tough one emotionally and is not for everyone. It requires that you have unlimited compassion, as the parents of babies will be stressed and scared. Furthermore, you must be able to communicate with them during these extremely tough moments.
However, there are many benefits to this specialized nursing career that might make it one that you will seriously consider going back to school to be able to do it for a living.
Benefits of Neonatal Nursing
A NICU nurse is in an incredible position to provide a better life for infants. Those who are just beginning their journey on Earth are not able to care for themselves, and parents often don’t know what to do when their newborn is critically ill.
You will have the skills, know-how, and experience to help these tiny humans overcome huge challenges, thanks to the in-depth education you receive from a top neonatal nursing college like Baylor University. Within a relatively short time, you can graduate from this type of program and go on to provide care in ways that change the lives of not only babies but also their families.
Helping the infants through to the point where they are strong enough to go home is a very rewarding experience. They may have battled lung issues, had cardiac problems, or something else entirely over weeks or months. Whatever it is, and no matter how long the period, you were there to provide the proper care and can do so for many other youngsters during your career.
Furthermore, you have the training to help parents provide the care they will need to administer once their child leaves neonatal intensive care. After being in specialized care for so long, parents may feel uneasy with taking their baby home and being responsible for them without a nurse to help them.
In this situation, you can help parents to transition by providing them with details about how to care for the newborn and how to administer any medicines or other treatments needed. Over time, you will likely see moms and dads become more self-assured as they interact with their little one, which is beautiful to see as a nurse.
Taking Your Career Further
If you want to specialize in providing care to critically ill infants and newborns, then Baylor’s online DNP-NNP program provides a great opportunity for you to start to do so. A great feature of nursing is that you can get more education to pursue a certain area of care.
Moreover, there are many roles you can advance into as a NICU nurse. For example, you can be a developmental care specialist who provides ways of meeting babies’ developmental necessities. Or you might oversee a team in the neonatal intensive care unit.
If you worry that you might not be able to keep working while going to school to become a neonatal nurse, then enrolling in an online college might make sense for you. Online education has great flexibility, which means that you can complete assignments when it is convenient for you in a busy schedule.
If your work shifts tend to vary, then online schooling is helpful because you can study or write papers before or after the shift. There is no physical class to visit at a specific time. Fit in your homework when you can, making sure that you meet the deadline to get through the DNP program successfully.
Concluding Thoughts on Becoming a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
Ultimately, if you are not happy where you are in nursing right now or if you think you would like to achieve more, specifically with ill babies, then take the time to consider becoming a neonatal nurse. To help you get the most career opportunities following graduation from a DNP Neonatal Nurse Practitioner program, choose a top-ranked nursing school like Baylor University.
A well-regarded online school like this one prepares you for a fulfilling career working with high-risk newborns and their families. Develop your critical thinking skills, learn diagnostic reasoning, master the assessment stage of care, and dig deep into patient management while going to college.
Once you graduate, your future includes life-saving work and plays a major role in helping others, including those who have only recently been born. Feel good about the work you’re doing and know that you made a great decision by furthering your education to achieve such an important career.