A Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) is a professional registered nurse with clinical experience in neonatal nursing that has received formal education with supervised clinical experience in the management of sick newborns and their families. NNPs may care for healthy infants, provide focused care for premature or ill newborns, or work exclusively with seriously ill newborns in a neonatal intensive care unit. This nursing career requires a high level of diligence and teamwork.
Overview of a DNP – Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Program
- Students learn how to exercise independent judgment in assessment, diagnosis, initiation of delegated medical procedures, and evaluation.
- Students prepare for practice in normal newborn, intermediate and intensive care settings in hospitals.
- Coursework prepares students to manage a caseload of neonates with consultation, collaboration, and general supervision from a physician.
- The curriculum builds on a core knowledge set of advanced nursing concepts and advances to neonatal specific courses to provide in-depth education related to the management of acute and chronic neonatal problems.
- Clinical practicum sites are typically available on location and distance students are able to assist in identifying clinical sites to complete their hours and may include their home unit and/or other neonatal settings in their geographical area.
Steps to Become a DNP Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
- Earn an Associate’s Degree in Nursing or a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing.
- Receive a Registered Nurse Certification.
- Enroll and complete a DNP in neonatal care from an accredited school like Capella University, Georgetown University, Kaplan University, South University, or University of Cincinnati.
- Obtain DNP certification and proper licensure, which varies by state.
The job setting will vary depending on what specific job you get. Possible options include primary care facilities, internal medicine practices, various nursing homes and assisted living facilities, acute and chronic care settings, hospitals, and step-down units. While it is not often a prerequisite to find a job, membership with a regional or specialty nursing organization can increase your employability. The online community Doctors of Nursing Practice is a great resource for these associations, scholarship and grant information, and other general DNP resources.
The average salary of a DNP varies by location, experience, and the type of employer you have. For more information on your earning potential, please refer to our nursing job outlook page.