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Are You Considering a Career as Neonatal Nurse Practitioner?

An NP smiles down at an infant, which is held by its mother who is wearing a head covering

Take a closer look at the role of a neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP).

Is your passion caring for newborns and their families? Do you excel under pressure? If you answered yes, you should consider a career as an NNP. NNPs provide advanced care to premature and ill newborns, and they often work in neonatal intensive care units.

What Is an NNP?

The role of the NNP is to provide care to high-risk infants who need care due to low birth weights, complications of prematurity, heart abnormalities, infections or other conditions. However, some NNPs may care for infants with long-term health conditions until they reach two years of age. Another important role of the NNP is to provide support and education to families with high-risk infants. NNPs can also work in emergency rooms, delivery rooms and outpatient developmental clinics that provide follow-up care to infants.

Nurses interested in becoming NNPs can achieve national certification from the National Certification Corporation (NCC). To be eligible for this certification, you must currently be licensed as a registered nurse and have graduated from an accredited master’s, Doctor of Nursing Practice or post-master’s NNP program.

As your national NP community, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) is here to help guide you through the stages of your career. As a student member of AANP, you can access to resources created specifically for you — from NPs who have been in your shoes. You can use the NP Program directory to search for NP programs by specialty and geography to find the program that best fits your needs.

Perspectives of a Working NNP

“Over the past 28 years, I have practiced in the neonatal intensive care unit [NICU] as a bedside nurse, educator, NNP and researcher. My experience as a nurse and NNP made me aware of the critical need for clinical research to improve care and outcomes for our premature infants. So, I received my PhD, and I now conduct translational research that is transforming clinical practice. I am honored to be among a very small group of PhD-prepared NNPs in the U.S. who actively conduct clinical research and are instrumental to improving outcomes on numerous levels. My extraordinary passion for our tiniest, most vulnerable patients guides my program of research, and I currently lead an interdisciplinary team of clinical and basic scientists on several funded projects to determine antecedent factors that predispose premature infants to ischemic organ disease.”

— Terri Marin, PhD, NNP-BC, FAANP, Assistant Professor, Department of Physiology and Technology, Augusta University College of Nursing

Five Facts You Should Know About NNPs

  1. On average, NNPs have 18.7 years of experience.1
  2. Full-time NNPs have a median total annual income — which includes base salary, productivity bonuses, incentive payments and more — of $140,000.1
  3. On average, full-time NNPs reported that they see approximately 13 patients per day.1
  4. The top practice setting for NNPs is a hospital inpatient unit.1
  5. The top diagnoses that NNPs treat are anemia, arrthymthias and acute respiratory lower infection.1

Career Resources for NNPs

Learn more about job opportunities available to NNPs by visiting the AANP JobCenter. You can filter your search by state, experience level and job type, including full-time positions, part-time positions or internships. You can also upload your resume to the JobCenter and let employers find you!

If you need help navigating the process of finding a job, please check out the JobCenter’s resources. The JobCenter is dedicated to helping you prepare for interviews, negotiate your salary and polish your resume. AANP also offers tips on becoming certified, finding the right practice setting and staying informed on important health issues at every stage of your NP career.

Professional Development Tools From AANP

Next Steps

By now, you may have decided that this career path is right for you. If you are not already a member of AANP, you should consider joining to gain access to:

¹ 2020 AANP National NP Sample Survey: Practice.