As you probably know, states have continuing education requirements for all nurses, neonatal nursing continuing education is just one of these requirements. Most of these are 20 to 30 hours of CE every year or, at most, two years; some of the required CE is based upon current employment, some is worked out on an hourly basis, and one state (Oklahoma) has no CE requirements at all.
But neonatal nursing is different, and the continuing education it demands is a separate paradigm from “state requirements.”
When you became an RN, prior to your specialization in neonatal nursing, it may have seemed to you like your educational requirements were endless.
Well, they were, and they still are.
Nursing, particularly in insuring the care and well-being of the very young, is one field that demands continual education, far beyond the minimal requirements of CE (continuing education). We consider neonatal nursing, a field that has new developments and innovations occurring on a weekly basis, as needing not just continuing (ongoing) education but continual (never-ending) education.
Why Neonatal Nursing Continuing Education Is Vital
A pop quiz: Have you ever studied the effects of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, and do you know proper procedures for an infant with this condition? If you are a neonatal nurse, the answer to that question had better be “yes,” especially since it is incumbent on you as an infant’s caregiver to recognize symptoms for early detection and thoroughly understand proper care procedures.
Yet Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome is a relatively new development, first reported on the medical scene in 2005. A neonatal nurse or midwife of ten years ago would not have known about it; however, drug addicted mothers, and their unfortunate children, have been around a lot longer than seven years.
That is why neonatal nursing continuing education is so vital; new developments, procedures and infant conditions are being reported on a monthly basis in some cases, and no nurse who cares for infants and the newborn can afford not to have a thoroughly understanding of these new revelations in neonatal care.
The Effects of Neonatal Nursing Continuing Education on Your Nursing Career
As a nurse who is already far past the RN stage and specializing in a single field, you are no minimalist, and you probably have never done measures by half. If you subscribe to the idea that continuing knowledge and cognitive dissonance (that pain you get when you think new ideas) are a part of the job, you are on the right path, we believe.
If you still need convincing, there are reasons beyond the need for knowledge:
-You achieve a sense of balance as a neonatal nurse: you know exactly what to do in a given situation and what role you play in a crisis or medical problem with an infant or newborn.
-You achieve a sense of empathy towards your patients and their families, the kind of authority, patience and understanding that new parents respond to, far beyond a good “bedside manner.”
-You achieve a sense of advancement, as a professional and as a valuable commodity to your unit and supervisors.
All of this translates to benefits for you, your patients, your medical team and your facility. Now, find out where to get this continuing education.
Neonatal Nursing Continuing Education Programs & Courses
Your medical facility should offer seminars, workshops or webinars on a regular basis, educational opportunities to expand your knowledge and value as a neonatal nurse, and which you must take advantage of in order to be the best in your specialty.
Job Outlook for the Well-Educated Neonatal Nurse
Continuing education is not without its financial rewards: an experienced neonatal nurse, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, commands an annual salary that averages $25,000 above that of an RN ($50,761 for an RN in a Neonatal ICU vs. $79, 638 for a Neonatal NP).
Professionalism pays, and neonatal nursing continuing education is utterly necessary to make you a top flight newborn/infant medical professional.