How much does a neonatal nurse make? A neonatal nurse salary is the same as that of a registered nurse with the average hourly wage being around $33.00, or $68,910 annually for a full-time position. The salary for the bottom 10 percent is $45,630 annually. The top 10 percent earn an annual income of $96,320.
A sub-specialty of nursing, the neonatal nurse works with infants that are born with health issues such as prematurity and birth defects. Care includes infants with problems shortly after birth and may continue for up to two years of age for those with long-term problems. A typical day may include teaching a new mother how to breastfeed, caring for a newborn baby on a ventilator or attending the birth of a small or premature baby.
Neonatal nurses have several different career options. They may start out as a staff nurse, providing care to critically ill infants or support care for mildly ill newborns. Later, they may choose to take a national certification test to validate on-the-job knowledge gained. They may gain the skills to become a charge nurse or stabilization nurse to assist in high-risk deliveries. They may participate on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation team, assisting with heart-lung bypass for infants in critical condition.
Another role for working with newborns is that of a neonatal nurse practitioner.
The neonatal nurse practitioner salary is significantly higher than the neonatal nurse salary. On average, nurse practitioners earn an hourly wage of $45.71 or $95,070 annually. The bottom 10 percent salary is $66,960 annually and the top 10 percent is $126,258.
The neonatal nurse practitioner has advanced skills that qualify them to work with doctors and nurses to provide comprehensive care for infants in the neonatal intensive care unit. This position requires extra schooling in a master’s degree or doctoral program. They learn to perform highly specialized procedures such as lumbar punctures and newborn resuscitation. They may provide training to other neonatal staff. Advanced practical nurses may work as neonatal nurse educators, clinical nurse specialists or developmental care specialists.
The majority of neonatal nurses work in a hospital setting. Some may work out in the community providing follow-up care at home for high-risk infants. Most neonatal nurses work full-time shifts. Neonatal care must be provided 24/7 and week-end and holiday hours are often required.
The job rate growth for all nurses is 19 percent, faster than average. The outlook for jobs as a neonatal nurse are excellent since medical advances have increased the survival rate of premature infants.