How to Become a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner in Alabama - AL

Nursing, known as the caring profession, is especially true for the tiniest, most fragile patients under a neonatal nurse’s care: newborn infants, from birth up to 28 days old.  Anyone who is presently a neonatal nurse, or who may wonder how to become a neonatal nurse practitioner in Alabama, should first understand the responsibilities that accompany the neonatal nurse job description.

Neonatal Nurse and Practitioner Requirements

This nursing specialty is relatively new in healthcare, yet is in great demand.  A neonatal nurse must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in nursing, while a neonatal nurse practitioner must have a master’s degree in nursing.  In addition, neonatal nurses and practitioners must have certifications in neonatal resuscitation and /or neonatal intensive care nursing.  Either neonatal nurse position can receive training to provide three specific levels of care:

  1. Level 1 is healthy infant care.  Due to better overall healthcare, and babies “rooming in” with mothers, this does not represent as great a need as in previous times.
  2. Level 2 is premature and sick baby care.  This level represents a greater demand, due to these little ones needing ongoing care.
  3. Level 3 is intensive care for seriously or premature infants who require constant supervision.  This sub-specialty typically takes place in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Each aspiring neonatal nurse or practitioner must also receive approval and certification from the Alabama State Board of Nursing.

Career Outlook

Similar to nursing careers in general, the demand for neonatal nurses and practitioners is high.  The 2009 figures from the National Association of Neonatal Nurses and 2010 Bureau of Labor Statistics agree that the need for this specialized area of nursing is likely to significantly increase over the next decade.  Considering about 40,000 infants are born premature or underweight every year in the US, neonatal nurses and practitioners will continue to be in demand.

Neonatal nurses and practitioners can find employment in various facilities, including clinics, hospitals, community-based entities, and NICUs.  *Some of the top employers of nurses in Alabama include Huntsville Hospital, Mobile Infirmary Medical Center, Saint Vincent's Birmingham, and Dekalb Regional Medical Center.  *A brief search at Indeed.com resulted in nearly 100 openings for neonatal nurses and practitioners in various cities and facilities in Alabama, as posted in February and March 2011.

*Please note these are examples for information only, not specific job offers.*

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Schools