Perinatal Nurse Practitioner Job Description & Scope of Practice
The perinatal period is the time surrounding the pregnancy, birth, and first weeks of life. A perinatal nurse practitioner cares for patients during their pregnancies. This specialty nursing position works with women to help ensure a smooth pregnancy and delivery.
These nurses also offer support to the patient and family during delivery and after the baby is born. Perinatal nurses perform some of these important roles and job duties:
- Educates women about childbirth techniques
- Assists women with prenatal health issues
- Works with high-risk patients
- Treats patients throughout their pregnancies
- Assists in the delivery room
- Provides support to women and their families through labor and childbirth
- Helps new mothers learn to care for their infants
- Offers postpartum support
Nurse practitioners may practice alone or may be part of a clinic or hospital. They assist patients and their families as they transition through pregnancy, supporting both the physical and emotional needs of the patient.
How to Become a Perinatal Nurse Practitioner
A perinatal NP is a nursing position that requires education, training, and experience in the nursing profession. A perinatal nurse must have a nursing degree and must be a licensed nurse. Once attaining a nursing degree, the aspiring nurse practitioner must pass the NCLEX-RN exam. Entry level perinatal nurse positions include working within a hospital or clinic setting as well as in a private practice. After a nurse gains several or more years of experience in the field it is advisable to further attain a Master’s degree in Nursing with a specialty in perinatal care.
Perinatal Nurse Practitioner Education Requirements, Certification, and Schooling Programs
Nurse practitioners must be credentialed nurses with at least a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN). Many NPs also pursue an advanced degree such as a Master’s degree in nursing. The aspiring NP wishing to work in perinatal care should focus their educational classes on the area of pregnancy and prenatal care.
Choose a Master’s program that focuses on advanced perinatal nursing. This coursework is specific to the perinatal NP or perinatal clinical nurse.
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
- Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
One of the programs to consider for the MSN is the Perinatal Nurse Specialist. This program focuses on caring for women and families in a variety of health care settings. The coursework helps to develop the skills necessary to become a perinatal nurse.
The National Certification Corporation (NCC) awards the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner-Board Certified (NNP-BC) to applicants who meet eligibility requirements and pass a certification exam. In order to be eligible, candidates must have a master, post-master or doctoral degree earned from a nurse-practitioner program after the year 2005. The multiple-choice exam covers several topics including perinatal and neonatal assessment, general management, pharmacology, diseases and professional issues. Perinatal nurse practitioners are encouraged to seek certification by the National Association of Neonatal Nurse Practitioners (NANNP).
Perinatal Nurse Practitioner Salary and Career Outlook
The need for specialized nursing positions is expected to increase in the next decade. The nurse practitioner provides unique care throughout the pregnancy process. Nurses and NPs may work through a hospital or clinic or may be self-employed. Skilled and experienced perinatal nursing specialists are in high demand. The salary for this type of nurse will vary based on experience, education and location. In general, a perinatal nurse may expect to receive a salary between $52,000 and $65,000 annually. Nurses with more experience and education may receive a salary of up to $81,000 per year.