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Neonatal Nursing Essay

1616 words - 6 pages

Neonatal nursing is a field of nursing designed especially for both newborns and infants up to 28 days old. The term neonatal comes from neo, "new", and natal, "pertaining to birth or origin”. Neonatal nurses are a vital part of the neonatal care team. These are trained professionals who concentrate on ensuring that the newborn infants under their care are able to survive whatever potential life threatening event they encounter. They treat infants that are born with a variety of life threatening issues that include instances of prematurity, congenital birth defects, surgery related problems, cardiac malformations, severe burns, or acute infection. Neonatal care in hospitals was always done by the nursing staff but it did not officially become a specialized medical field until well into 1960s. This was due to the numerous advancements in both medical care training and related technology that allowed for the improved treatment and survival rate of premature babies. According to the March of Dimes, one of every thirteen babies born in the United States annually suffers from low birth weight. This is a leading cause in 65% of infant deaths. Therefore, nurses play a very important role in providing round the clock care for these infants, those born with birth defects or other life threatening illness. In addition, these nurses also tend to healthy babies while their mothers recover from the birthing process. Prior to the advent of this specialized nursing field at risk newborn infants were mostly cared for by obstetricians and midwives who had limited resources to help them survive (Meeks 3).
What are the qualifications of a neonatal nurse? It goes without saying that the primary quality needed is a deep sincere desire to care for babies who may be at the threshold of death. Another essential quality is the ability to be calm and focused when confronted with an emergency. As a neonatal nurse, there will be a many of these critical care babies, particularly when they are neonates. These delicate beings can take a turn for the worse in a matter of minutes. It is also important to be empathetic and compassionate while also dealing with very frightened parents. Therefore it is critical to develop a patient demeanor and excellent communication skills. Unfortunately, not all the critical babies survive; therefore it is critical that the nurse will be able to deal with emotional trauma associated with the death of a baby. This nurse will be the one the parents will turn to for emotional support and as well as be a source of consolation.
Ever since its inception neonatal nursing, training has gradually become more technologically advanced. There are now three distinct levels of neonatal nursing. A Level I is usually a healthy newborn nursery—it is basically nonexistent since now mothers and babies have a very short hospital stay and often together in the same room. Level II on the other hand is an intermediate care or special care nursery...

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