The role of a neonatal nurse - Essay Example

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This research evaluates the role of a neonatal nurse. The expertise of the neonatal nurses is highly needed in the NICU, neonatal transport and follow-up. However, studies have shown that in spite of the increasing demand for the NNPs, the number of nurses graduating is quite less…
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The role of a neonatal nurse
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The Role of a Neonatal Nurse
Neonatal nurse practitioners are registered nurses who have advanced qualifications in neonatal care and nursing. They provide care and assess the neonates who are acutely ill and are admitted in the NICU-neonatal intensive care unit- for any reason. A neonatal nurse requires very high standards of competencies for the care of the newborns. Educational eligibility criteria for this certification are registered nurse practice and Masters in Science in Nursing. These programs are usually affiliated with medical centers and extend over a period of two years. This particular designation in the nursing field was introduced in 1980s after the certification by the National Certification Corp. Nowadays a total of 46 programs for Nurse practitioners also offer training courses for Neonatal nurse practitioners (NNPs) (Freed et al 2010; Fitzpatrick & Ea 2011). The role of the neonatal nurses extends from physical examination of the newborns, their assessments to the critical care of the acutely ill neonates and their follow-up.
The role of the neonatal nurse is conspicuous and her expertise is needed in various aspects regarding the neonate. The neonatal nurse should have command over regulating ventilators, hemodynamic monitoring, transfusion methods, blood sampling, newborn examination and assessment, management of acutely ill neonates in NICU. Neonatal nurse also has great responsibilities when it comes to interpersonal skills related to parent counseling in cases of child death, obtaining consent, support in critical conditions and explaining various procedures to the parents and families. Moreover, a neonatal nurse should have a high comfort level when it comes to dealing with the little neonates, as this area requires very fine and excellent skills (Fitzpatrick & Ea 2011). The neonatal nurse plays an important role in assessment and examination of the neonate immediately after birth. Cardio respiratory support to the baby should be prepared after birth to avoid any complications. The neonatal nurse plays a critical role along with the whole resuscitation team to provide the optimum circumstances to the baby. Babies who are born with congenital heart abnormalities are pre-term or present with clinical features of fetal distress and are vulnerable to reduced adaptation capabilities. Neonatal nurse has to make sure that she assesses the underlying problem and provides immediate resuscitation to the neonate (Meeks et al 2009).
Assessment of the baby includes noting the baby’s color, tone, heart rate and respiratory rate. These should be ensured by a neonatal nurse that they are within the normal ranges. Thermoregulation, glucose monitoring, fluid balance and feeding regulations are to be monitored regularly by the neonatal nurses, especially for the neonates in the intensive care unit. Pre-term babies require intense care routine from the time of birth till the time that they remain admitted in the NICU (Meeks et al 2009). Neonatal nurse plays an important role in reducing the heat loss at the time of birth and in creating an environment that suits the thermal requirements of the neonate (Boxwell 2010).
Neonatal nurses also play an important role in the neonatal transport procedure. This transport is indicated in circumstances when the medical expertise of a particular health center is found to be inadequate for the neonate. The transport is indicated in conditions like premature babies, respiratory distress, seizures, hypoxia, congenital heart diseases and other medical emergencies of neonates. Neonatal nurse practitioners are an important part of the transport team along with two or three more medical professionals (Cloherty et al 2008). The Neonatal Nurse Practitioner replaces a doctor in the transport team in many areas. These nurses lead the whole transport teams and carry out the complete neonatal transfer procedure. The nurse qualifies in not only intensive neonatal care but also in neonatal care (Boxwell 2010).
Neonatal nurses are involved with acutely ill babies in the intensive care unit and hence neonatal loss is a very vulnerable situation for them. They should be aware of the family’s responses in cases of neonatal loss and should be aware of the legal, professional and ethical issues involved in such circumstances. Moreover, they should also wisely handle the grieving family. An important issue is of withholding or withdrawing the treatment for a baby in NICU. Neonatal nurses find themselves in a dilemma in such cases. Their major priority should be for the best interests of the baby. Neonatal nurses are faced with many decision-making circumstances where they have to act as advocates for the neonates and describe a particular treatment or procedure to the parents explaining its benefit for the baby (Boxwell 2010).
The expertise of the neonatal nurses is highly needed in the NICU, neonatal transport and follow-up. However, studies have shown that in spite of the increasing demand for the NNPs, the number of nurses graduating is quite less (Freed et al 2010). Awareness and significance about the role of neonatal nurses is necessary to highlight various aspects of this profession. The neonatal nurses are equipped with immense knowledge, skills and interpersonal capabilities which enables them to deal with the acutely ill neonates.
Boxwell, G. (2010). Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing. Taylor & Francis.
Cloherty, J. P., Eichenwald, E. C., & Stark, A. R. (2008).Manual of neonatal care. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Fitzpatrick, J., & Ea, E. E. (2011). 201 Careers in Nursing. New York: Springer Pub. Co.
Freed, G. L., Dunham, K. M., Lamarand, K. E., Loveland-Cherry, C., & Martyn, K. K. (November 01, 2010). Neonatal Nurse Practitioners: Distribution, Roles and Scope of Practice. Pediatrics, 126, 5, 856-860.
Meeks, M., Hallsworth, M., & Yeo, H. (2009). Nursing the neonate. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. Read More
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