How to Write a Neonatal Nurse Job Description Sample

A Neonatal Nurse, or NICU Nurse, is a Registered Nurse who provides care to newborn infants from the moment of birth through their first few months of life. They often specialize in the care of premature or sick newborn babies. Their duties include attending births and caring for infants directly after birth, monitoring the health of infants suffering from medical issues, and communicating with parents or guardians about the care and medical procedures for their infant.

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What does a Neonatal Nurse do?

Neonatal Nurses provide care for newborn infants and are specialists in caring for premature or sick newborn babies. Some Neonatal Nurses specialize in providing care for newborns requiring urgent care, so they often spend most of their workday based in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU), but will also attend high-risk births. Neonatal Nurses educate and guide new parents and their families on how to care for their newborns. For example, educating parents about breastfeeding or providing instructions for administering prescribed medication following patient discharge.

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Neonatal Nurse duties and responsibilities

Many of the Neonatal Nurse’s responsibilities include monitoring infant health and conducting health assessments soon after birth. However, they also measure and weigh newborn babies, and educate parents on the care of newborn infants. Additional duties and responsibilities of Neonatal Nurses include:

  • Comprehensive nursing assessments of newborns
  • Develop a plan of care, monitor the effectiveness of the care plan, and adjust where necessary
  • Monitor the health of infants suffering from medical issues
  • Attend and assist high-risk births
  • Perform tests and evaluate test results
  • Provide treatment and administer medication as advised by NICU physicians
  • Run and maintain equipment in the NICU
  • Document patient history

Neonatal Nurse skills and qualifications

To excel as a Neonatal Nurse, the ability to work well under pressure and prioritize effectively is crucial. Strong interpersonal skills are important in this role, as Neonatal Nurses often communicate complex medical information to parents, all whilst working within a high-pressure environment. Top skills for Neonatal Nurses include:

  • Effective planning, time management, organization, and coordination skills
  • Ability to work collaboratively with other professions in a team environment
  • Strong knowledge of neonatal standards of care
  • In-depth understanding of pre-term and full-term infant pathophysiology and the management of infants requiring acute care
  • Strong observation skills for physical assessments, experience with added nursing skills (such as capillary blood work, IVs, suctioning of ETTs) being an asset
  • Excellent critical-thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Conscientious and reliable
  • Proficient computer skills and accurate documentation of patients’ medical history

Neonatal Nurse experience requirements

Neonatal Nurses don’t need prior nursing experience to apply for a position, however, relevant education in the field is necessary. Yet, having previous pediatrics or nursing experience can be beneficial. Other nursing experiences from medical fields outside of a NICU, such as a Nurse Assistant, can contribute to a nurse’s experience and provide valuable transferrable skills.

Neonatal Nurse education and training requirements

Neonatal Nurses must have at least an associate’s degree to practice neonatal care, although it’s not unusual to require a higher level of education such as a bachelor’s degree for the position. They should also hold current registration with their provincial or territorial regulatory body. To specialize in neonatal care, there are additional training programs and courses, such as the Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP), STABLE course, and Basic Life Support (BLS) Provider course.

Neonatal Nurse salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average pay for a NICU Nurse in Canada is $23.96 per hour. However, the actual pay depends on the type of facility, nurse’s work experience, and geographical location.

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Neonatal Nurse job description FAQs

Who do Neonatal Nurses report to?

While Neonatal Nurses work independently, they will also collaborate with Physicians and other Neonatal Care Specialists to create care plans. Neonatal Nurses follow Physician instructions regarding patient care and often update the Physician, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, or Neonatal Physician Assistant of any changes in a patient’s status.

What qualities make a great Neonatal Nurse?

Caring for infants requires strong attention to detail, as the patient can’t yet communicate how they feel or what they might need. Being caring, compassionate, and able to approach situations with empathy is imperative to success as a Neonatal Nurse. As they are often communicating complex medical information to new parents during a very stressful experience, being able to communicate calmly and comfort patients’ families is invaluable.

What are the day-to-day duties of a Neonatal Nurse?

While no two days are the same for a Neonatal Nurse, duties typically involve monitoring and assessing infant health, providing care and administering medication as prescribed by the physician, and attending deliveries, including high-risk births. When they are not at patients’ bedsides, Neonatal Nurses will advise patients’ families about care and medical procedures. They’ll also educate new parents on newborn care, such as providing breastfeeding advice. 

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