Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Program in Massachusetts - MA
In Massachusetts, neonatal nurse practitioners are considered primary care providers and can legally prescribe medication and order tests, provided they are under a doctor’s supervision. The Bay state neonatal nurse practitioner license program seems to be slightly more lax in the regulations for nurse practitioners than in other neighboring states (which may require contracts between a doctor and nurse practitioner), but the state still requires both an in-state registered nursing license (RN) and advanced practice registered nursing license (APRN), in addition to certificates from the APRN exam.
Unfortunately, no in-state education programs currently exist for neonatal nurse practitioners, although several hospitals, including Winchester Hospital, have a neonatal unit in which nurses can get experience either as RN’s hoping to someday get their APRN degree in neonatology, or for current neonatal nurse practitioners hoping to find a position.
In order to practice as a neonatal nurse practitioner, you must complete the certification exam, which requires a current RN license and a Master’s degree in the neonatal specialty. The exam costs between $500-700, depending on whether you choose to take the pen-and-pencil or computer version of the test.
Once licensed and certified, you will spend your time working in a hospital setting, in one of three nurseries. Level I nurseries are for normal, healthy babies, and in fact, many of these are being phased out as mothers and babies spend less time in the hospital after delivery. Level II nurseries are for babies who need specialized, but limited care, such as feeding tubes, IVs, or simply need some time to mature before going home. Level III nurseries are the NICU, or neonatal intensive care units, and are often only found in larger hospitals or specialized children’s hospitals. Infants in this nursery are often seriously ill and require ventilation, surgery, or other life support. Neonatal nurses treat these babies, and neonatal nurse practitioners often oversee the RN’s below them in addition to taking care of infants. Often, extra experience and certifications are required to work in a Level II nursery and above.