nurse cares for newborn

A baby is born in the United States every 8 seconds, which means nurses that work with newborns will always be needed. There are several career paths nurses can take that will lead to working with children, but two specific paths will allow a nurse to work with new mothers and their newborns. Here are the two primary jobs for registered nurses in this track.

Labor and Delivery Nurses

Labor and delivery nurses help deliver babies and assist moms through childbirth. Specific roles and responsibilities include monitoring vital signs for the baby and mother, starting IV lines, administering medications, measuring contractions, inducing labor, assisting with surgery and coaching new mothers.

Unlike other healthcare professionals who provide care during pregnancy, labor and delivery nurses are present throughout the birth. Nurses are typically responsible for a small number of patients at one time. Having two or three patients at once allows labor and delivery nurses to provide a great deal of assistance, encouragement and comfort to moms. They also advocate for patients and serve as a liaison between moms and medical teams.

Education: Labor and delivery nurses are required to be registered nurses. Some registered nurses have an associate degree, but many employers require nurses to have a bachelor’s degree. Given how desirable labor and delivery nursing can be among current and potential nurses, prospective nurses should consider maximizing their education and credentials. Inpatient Obstetric Nursing (RNC-OB) certification through the National Certification Corporation is available.

Salary: The median annual wage for registered nurses is $70,000, according to the BLS. Official data on nursing specialties is not available. A nursing salary survey from ADVANCE revealed non-certified labor and delivery nurses earn $76,614, and those who are certified earn $82,992.

Neonatal Nurse

Neonatal nurses care for sick or premature babies. Neonatal or neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurses help care for the 40,000 low-birth-weight infants that are born in the United States each year, according to the National Association of Neonatal Nurses.

Neonatal nurses can work with as many as four infants at a time, providing around-the-clock care. Some nurses who work with these babies don’t work in hospitals; they work in the community to provide home or follow-up care for high-risk infants.

Education: Like labor and delivery nurses, neonatal nurses must become registered nurses. They are advised to pursue a bachelor’s degree and consider Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing (RNC-NIC) certification through the National Certification Corporation.

Salary: Official salary for nursing specialties is not available; the median annual wage for registered nurses is $70,000. A nursing salary survey revealed that non-certified neonatal nurses earn $83,723 and certified neonatal nurses earn $98,600.

Career Outlook

A current shortage in available nurses has continued to drive the career outlook for these professionals. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), the shortage is expected to intensify until an influx of new nurses sufficiently closes the gap left by retiring nurses; more than half of the current nursing workforce is comprised of baby boomers. These indicators help explain why the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the employment of registered nurses to grow 15 percent by 2026, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.

The two primary types of nurses that work with newborns, neonatal and labor and delivery nurses, will enjoy the same type of growth. Current nurses will start to retire over the next decade, and there will always be demand for roles that require specialized skills and credentials.

The demand for nurses has caused the number of nursing students to increase. The same study by the AACN found that nursing program enrollment across all levels grew 32.6 percent from 2011 to 2012, and it’s a trend that continues today.

“The supply of new nurses entering the labor market has increased in recent years. This increase has resulted in competition for jobs in some areas of the country. Generally, registered nurses with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN) will have better job prospects than those without one.”

–Bureau of Labor Statistics

Obtaining a bachelor’s degree can help you boost your nursing career, enabling you to pursue desirable nursing specialties, move into management roles and increase your salary potential. Southeastern University’s online RN to BSN program lets you accomplish this goal without interfering with your busy schedule. Gain the knowledge and skills you need to provide better patient care and meet your career goals, as you enjoy the convenience of an online learning environment.