The starting salary for neonatal nurses average about $50,240 per year on the average in the United States. A median rate per hour for all neonatal nurses is $30.73, which is around $63,000 plus per year, so it is evident that there is room for growth in pay due to experience.
The starting salary for neonatal nurses is just the beginning, for a neonatal nurse with 5 to 9 years of experience can earn an average of around $60,000 per year, and with 20 years or more of experience, the salary averages in the $70,000 per year range.
A neonatal nurse works with newborn babies so the duties can be mundane in some cases, and quite interesting and challenging in others. Actually there are various duties and responsibilities that go along with being a neonatal nurse.
All newborn babies need lots of attention, but there are some babies who need more attention than others. A neonatal nurse’s job is to take care of and feed newborn babies and monitor their progress on monitors that measure their vital signs. Occasionally fluids must be administered by IV as well as oxygen if the need arises. Prescribed medications must be given and action must be taken if there is a medical emergency. Emergency equipment must be mastered and used such as incubators and ventilators.
Parents are also educated and communicated with by neonatal nurses in regard to the proper care that will be needed as the infant leaves the hospital to go home. Neonatal nurses have to be alert at all times, be able to act quickly if the situation demand fast and accurate action, and have the presence of mind to stay calm in the face of chaos.
Geographical location is a factor as well, as far as the earnings in this job category go. Higher paying cities for neonatal nurses are San Francisco, San Antonio, St. Louis, Orlando, Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, and Chicago.
If an individual wishes to pursue a career as a neonatal nurse, he or she should have a bachelor’s degree in nursing as the first step as criteria for becoming a neonatal nurse. The candidate must first work as a registered nurse in order to gain the experience of working in a hospital setting, getting along with patients, and being able to settle into a hospital routine. Learning the procedures and protocols is an important first step in the process.
All neonatal nurses must gain a nursing license from the National Council of Licensure Examination. It is required that the candidate work as a registered nurse for at least 3 years, and then the aspiring candidate must receive additional certification in order to become a neonatal nurse.
A neonatal nurse has a specific job classification that requires the ability to have critical thinking abilities and be able to make critical decisions on the spot. They should be able to manage details in a critical manner while simultaneously operating modern day life saving equipment. Patience, compassion and a love for people and babies are also very important traits to have in this profession.