How many years does it take to become a Neonatal N and what degree is required?

  1. 0
    How many years in college does it take to become a Neonatal nurse practitioner?
    I was just wondering because I saw how many it took to become a Neonatologist. And I love to work with infants.



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  2. 12 Comments...

  3. 0
    Quote from gymnagirl44
    And I love to work with infants.
    Then I would suggest you get a good handle on what Neonatologists and NNPs actually do.

    I love working with infants as well, but the NICU is in the 9th ring of hell as far as I'm concerned.

    If you really like working with infants, it's kind of depressing to work in a place where the best thing you can do for them is not touch them at all.


    [And just for the record, to be a Neonatologist requires an undergraduate 4 year degree (in most cases), 4 years of medical school, a 3 year Pediatric Residency, followed by a 3 year Neonatology fellowship. In case anyone was wondering.]
  4. 0
    The Universties around here will take non-BSN nurses.

    As for a NP...you need four years to BSN..and then usually 2 more to get your masters...that seems about the minimum. GL.
  5. 0
    To become a neonatal nurse, you must first earn a RN degree. From there, you can get your Master's degree in Neonatal Nursing. To obtain Bachelor's degree in Nursing takes 4 years and 2 yrs for Master's degree. I know it didn't answer your question, but I hope it gives you an idea of years in college.
  6. 1
    OK.... to set the record straight, you need to get a Bachelor's degree in nursing, then get a job as a neonatal ICU nurse in a level III nursery for at least a year. Then you can begin applying to graduate programs to get your master's degree in nursing. You can focus on pediatrics, geriatrics, neonatal, etc, then sit for your specific certification boards. You can NOT sit for example, the pediatric NP boards unless you have completed a PNP program. I recommend you get a few years under your belt as a NICU RN before starting grad school. You can complete your masters degree in anywhere from 18mos-2 yrs depending on the program and required clinical hours.

    NICU is not the 9th circle of hell for me. Except for a smattering of ER, and a few years of PICU, it's all I've ever done as a nurse. We don't sit around rocking and feeding babies. The ones that are getting ready to go home are the ones we can take time to play with. We see many critically ill premature infants on ventilators, IV drips, postop open hearts, ECMos, etc. That being said, you have plenty of opportunities to interact with your patient as acuity allows, teach the parents, etc...

    NICU ain't no bed of roses like everyone thinks it is. It's full of high-tech equipment and high-acuity babies. But it's what I love.... good luck!
    mariposabella likes this.
  7. 0
    Quote from SteveRN21
    OK.... to set the record straight, you need to get a Bachelor's degree in nursing, then get a job as a neonatal ICU nurse in a level III nursery for at least a year. Then you can begin applying to graduate programs to get your master's degree in nursing. You can focus on pediatrics, geriatrics, neonatal, etc, then sit for your specific certification boards. You can NOT sit for example, the pediatric NP boards unless you have completed a PNP program. I recommend you get a few years under your belt as a NICU RN before starting grad school. You can complete your masters degree in anywhere from 18mos-2 yrs depending on the program and required clinical hours.
    I have heard that there are no national standards for specialty NP certification, and that it was dependent on individual state nursing boards to determine certification requirements and scope of practice. Is that incorrect?
  8. 0
    Quote from TiredMD
    I have heard that there are no national standards for specialty NP certification, and that it was dependent on individual state nursing boards to determine certification requirements and scope of practice. Is that incorrect?

    True, to a point....

    NNPs can sit for their certification/credential exam through the NCC credentialing and certification group. Individual states have different requirements as to when NNPs must be certified. For instance, I believe NY allows NNPs to practice once they graduate for up to one year before getting certified. Other nursing boards require certification for practice.

    So ultimately it is up to the individual SBON to decide whether a NNP can practice without certification, or needs certification first. In any case, all NNPs need to sit for their national (NCC) specialty certification/credentialing exam.
  9. 0
    Quote from wshortie
    To become a neonatal nurse, you must first earn a RN degree. From there, you can get your Master's degree in Neonatal Nursing. To obtain Bachelor's degree in Nursing takes 4 years and 2 yrs for Master's degree. I know it didn't answer your question, but I hope it gives you an idea of years in college.
    Okay, you get a nursing degree, not an RN degree. You receive the RN only after you pass the boards. You can graduate nursing school without ever getting your RN, but you can't get your RN until you graduate nursing school.

    Actually you can go from an ADN to a MSN directly in about 3 years. It is something I am looking into, but as Steve mentioned, experience in the NICU is required.

    Kris
  10. 0
    well hmm... i was wanting to be a Neonatal nurse because i love babies too.. but.... if you say its like hell.. im not sure then, also many people tell me i couldnt handle it cause im very tenderhearted.. soo any suggestions on what would be a thing to do that i wouldnt have to deal with the sadness and where i would actually be able to touch the babies and play with them as well as help them? im not sure...
  11. 0
    Have you looked into a level 2 nursery or a stepdown unit at a children's hospital? Both are great options because you are working with babies who were at one point critical. Education is key to the parents because these babies will be going home and you will do alot of teaching on how to handle equipment medications etc. etc. NICU is not for everyone. For those not well suited will consider it hell. Even if you are tenderhearted, most nurses are tenderhearted and through time we learn how to handle sad situations. Nurses are human NOT robots. No one likes to see a baby die, or have a baby born to a mother who abused drugs, is HIV + and could care less about the baby but wants to keep it for her WIC. You see the good the bad and the UGLY. But imagine how great it will feel to see the ones that make it out of the NICU and lead normal lives and come back to thank the NICU nurses and doctors. Alot of NICUs do reunions. It must be an amazing feeling. If you are thinking about getting ur NNP than you will have to work in a level 3 NICU. Im not sure if you are in nursing school or not but you will do your clinicals in all sorts of areas. You will see what you love, and hate and what it is you are ment to do. Once you are further along in nursing school ask to shadow a NICU nurse for a day to be sure it is what you want. Good luck to you we all have our niches and you will find yours!


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