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Nursery Nurse Duties and Responsibilities

Nursery nurses provide RN-level care for newborns, infants, and small children, depending upon on where they work. Based on current job listings, nursery nurses are responsible for these duties:

Administer Medical Treatments, Procedures, and Medications A nursery nurse often provides the same hands-on care as an RN who works with adults. These duties include dispensing medication and performing diagnostic tests and procedures, such as blood draws and intubation. They also operate monitoring devices, change feeding tubes, and provide care specific to the needs of each infant.

Infant Care The work of a nursery nurse is not always strictly medical. These nurses spend time holding and rocking babies, feeding them bottles, and changing diapers. When infants are in NICU and parents cannot be present, the nursery nurse sits with babies and provides emotional support, physical comfort, and social interaction.

Assist Physicians Just like an adult care RN, nursery nurses help physicians provide the best healthcare and treatment possible. They assist doctors in treatment administration and surgery and report to physicians on changes in patient conditions.

Create and Implement Patient Care Plans Like all nurses, nursery nurses are on the front lines, providing healthcare and modifying patient treatment plans according to patient responses and conditions. They consult and coordinate with doctors and healthcare team members to assess, implement, and evaluate patient care plans.

Maintain Patient Records Nursery nurses are responsible for recording medical information like vital signs and symptom changes and maintaining accurate and detailed reports of this information in patient records.

Educate Parents While working with infant patients, nursery nurses interact with parents and families. They update parents on the baby's condition and educate parents on how to care for the infant once it leaves the hospital. Concerned parents usually have a lot of questions, and the nursery nurse provides answers or directs them to a physician or medical staff who can.


Nursery Nurse Skills and Qualifications

Nursery nurses have a passion for infants and children and a strong drive to help others. The following skills are essential to provide the type of care needed from a nursery nurse:
  • Infant handling - nursery nurses work with very small patients who can be easily harmed. They need to understand infant medication dosage and administration and have the manual dexterity to handle small ventilators and intravenous lines
  • Empathy and compassion - balancing compassion with emotional stability can be challenging, and nursery nurses need to be empathetic toward patients and families while keeping their composure in stressful situations
  • Flexibility - nurses never know what might get thrown at them during the day, and this is truer when working with delicate infants. Nursery nurses must juggle multiple patients, paperwork, physicians, and families at the same time
  • Technical competence - the technology used to treat and care for infants is advanced, and nursery nurses need to operate high-tech machines like incubators, intravenous controls,and transfusion equipment
  • Critical thinking -a sharp mind is necessary to be an effective nurse, especially when working with babies. Nurses need to assess situations and make critical decisions quickly
  • Communication skills - nursery nurses are often the middlemen of infant patient care and communicate information from physicians to families. It is usually their responsibility to make sure the family fully understands the diagnosis and treatment plan

Nursery Nurse Education and Training

Nursery nurses usually complete a bachelor's degree in nursing before obtaining a registered nurse license, though some become an RN after a two-year associate nursing program. To get a nursery nurse job, it is recommended that you complete some advanced training in neonatology or earn a certificate in neonatal nursing. Nurses with previous experience working in the NICU are at an advantage, and many nurses acquire neonatology skills through on-the-job training and attending seminars.

Nursery Nurse Salary and Outlook

Registered nurses, including neonatal nurses, earn a median annual salary of $68,450, or $32.91 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics(BLS). Nurses working for hospitals are the highest paid, earning $73,980 per year. Nurses who work in a specialized area of practice, like nursery nurses, earn higher salaries than RNs without a specialization. Nurses typically receive benefits like paid time off, health insurance, dental care, life insurance, and pension plans. Some even receive tuition reimbursement or child care assistance. The job outlook for nurses is projected to grow much faster than average at 15 percent by 2026, as demand for healthcare services increase with a growing population.

Helpful Resources

Are you interested in becoming a nursery nurse? We've put together a list of helpful resources where you can find information on neonatology and becoming a registered nurse:

The National Association of Neonatal Nurses - NANN is committed to delivering tools to help advance the profession of neonatal nurses. Its resources guide offers information on training and certification

Nurse Career Learning Center - hosted by Nurse.org, this site helps nursing students, new graduates, advanced practitioners, and anyone wondering how to take the first steps to becoming a nurse. It offers career guides, scholarship information, and state-specific nursing resources

The Campaign for Nursing: Resources - DiscoverNursing.com, a career resource maintained by Johnson & Johnson, offers an array of free tools to help promote the field of nursing and answer questions about prospective nursing careers

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