Many Baby Nurses Aren't Nurses At All

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The title 'baby nurse' typically refers to a healthcare worker who specializes in the in-home care of infants from one day old to one year old. However, not all 'baby nurses' possess nursing education or licensure. In fact, this industry is awash with people who bring other types of training to the table.

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 16 years experience.

Many Baby Nurses Aren't Nurses At All

In the burgeoning industry of private home-based baby care, 'baby nurse' is a title that refers to a trained individual who specializes in the care of infants from one day old up to one year old. A number of experienced registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) work as baby nurses. In fact, the vast world wide web is host to multiple websites that advertise the services of licensed nurses with seemingly entrepreneurial spirits and presupposed business saavy who operate their own baby care businesses.

Some parents feel overburdened with maddening responsibilities once a newborn comes home for the very first time. Resourceful baby nurses can relieve a great deal of the burden on the parents by providing care for the newborn as soon as he / she arrives home from the hospital or birthing center. The baby nurse assists the parents with tasks such as feeding, burping, bathing, dressing, changing diapers, umbilical cord care, circumcision site care, positioning, devising sleep habits, and responding to the infant's cries. Moreover, if the mother chooses to breast-feed, the baby nurse can provide valuable education on this topic and assist with the pumping of breast milk.

Many baby nurses spend the night in the infant's nursery for eight or twelve hour shifts and have short term contracts of up to 12 weeks, whereas a select few get to live in the household until the child reaches the first birthday. Some baby nurses specialize in the care of multiple births (twins, triplets, quadruplets, etc.), while others have developed their own unique niches in the marketplace by providing care for medically fragile premature infants and other neonates with health problems that require constant intervention.

Conversely, one might be surprised to learn that many people in the industry who use the title of 'baby nurse' do not possess any nursing education or professional licensure whatsoever. In fact, a number of these in-home workers are actually non-medical persons such as newborn care specialists, nannies, au pairs, and postpartum doulas. According to the Newborn Care Specialist Association, a newborn care specialist (NCS) "provides unique expertise in all aspects of newborn care, parental education and support."

The majority of parents will never hire a baby nurse because their services are usually too costly for middle-income and lower-income earners to comfortably afford. Baby nurses are more common among the urban upper middle class and wealthy, especially in major metropolitan areas such as New York City. According to nanniesandmore.com, the average pay rate for a baby nurse is anywhere from $275 to $500+ for each 24 hour period. A search of other websites that advertise baby nursing services unearths pay rates that range from $18 to $35 per hour.

Baby nurses are definitely an invaluable resource to parents and newborns. However, one can almost be certain that the obstetrician would gripe if the PA called herself a doctor. One can bet that the lawyer would complain if the paralegal referred to himself as a lawyer. Likewise, those of us who are licensed nurses should be more vocal about the growing subset of people who use our title without the corresponding education, training or licensure. After all, 'nurse' is a protected title in several states.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN, CRRN is a longtime physical rehabilitation nurse who has varied experiences upon which to draw for her articles. She was an LPN/LVN for more than four years prior to becoming a Registered Nurse.

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16 Comment(s)

BSNbeauty, BSN, RN

1 Article; 1,939 Posts

Very informative thank you! I'm considering working as a baby nurse PRN. I've been a mother/baby nurse for 8 months and feel really comfortable taking care of newborns and assisting moms. Has any one done this ? How do you like it. I was thinking about working for letmommysleep company. Any thoughts?

iluvgusgus

150 Posts

Today I saw a PCA wearing a sweatshirt that said " (college name) Nurse" and on the back it said "(college name) School of Nursing". I was offended, not yet a nurse wearing a sweatshirt that says that.

Carrie RN

152 Posts

My sister and I went to the same university we both have alumni sweatshirts and jackets. The university does not police the sale of athletic wear so anyone could buy alumni apparel. I think the individual should have the integrity not to buy said items until they have achieved the degree and license.

babyNP., APRN

Specializes in NICU. Has 14 years experience. 1,919 Posts

Are you saying that unless you've graduated from a particular school, you're not allowed to wear anything that has the university's name on it?

Nonetheless

344 Posts

Today I saw a PCA wearing a sweatshirt that said " (college name) Nurse" and on the back it said "(college name) School of Nursing". I was offended, not yet a nurse wearing a sweatshirt that says that.

In this economy a lot of new grad RNs can't find anything but PCA jobs. It's very possible that she IS. A nurse but is still not employed as an RN because she is "not experienced enough".

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 16 years experience. 224 Articles; 27,608 Posts

Are you saying that unless you've graduated from a particular school, you're not allowed to wear anything that has the university's name on it?
I think the previous poster is implying that people should not wear anything that would mislead people into thinking they hold that professional title when they really don't.

If the PCA is wearing a sweatshirt that says "Funkytown State University Nurse," it would lead people to believe he/she is a nurse who graduated from said university.

CloudySue

Specializes in Pediatric Private Duty; Camp Nursing. Has 6 years experience. 710 Posts

Funkytown University. I would totally buy that shirt.

babyNP., APRN

Specializes in NICU. Has 14 years experience. 1,919 Posts

I think the previous poster is implying that people should not wear anything that would mislead people into thinking they hold that professional title when they really don't.

If the PCA is wearing a sweatshirt that says "Funkytown State University Nurse," it would lead people to believe he/she is a nurse who graduated from said university.

My bad, I guess. Sometimes I wear my husband's old university sweatshirt, X University, Biology Department. I didn't realize I was masquerading as a biologist...

JustBeachyNurse, RN

Specializes in Complex pediatrics turned LTC/subacute geriatrics. Has 12 years experience. 1 Article; 13,949 Posts

My bad' date=' I guess. Sometimes I wear my husband's old university sweatshirt, X University, Biology Department. I didn't realize I was masquerading as a biologist...[/quote']

Not the same a department shirt does not indicate title or license.

. It would be the same if it said funky town university CPA, physician, dentist, physical therapist. A little different if it said funky town university school of nursing or funky town university nursing department. Funky town university nurse has a different meaning....

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 16 years experience. 224 Articles; 27,608 Posts

Not the same a department shirt does not indicate title or license.
Exactly! I would be totally fine with a person who wore a shirt that said "State University Department of Nursing." However, if the shirt said "State University Nurse" when the aforementioned person is not a licensed nurse, it seems a tad bit misleading to me.