What Does a Perinatal Nurse Do?
Pregnancy can be a complicated time for many women. Their bodies begin to change and those who are pregnant for the first time or have a history of prior health-related issues need to be constantly monitored to ensure that they and the baby are developing normally. Even healthy women pregnant for the second, third, or fourth time need specialized care throughout their pregnancy to make certain that everything is going along normally. That is where perinatal nurses come in. Perinatal nurses work with pregnant women to educate them about the things they will experience during the time they will be carrying the baby. They also help to assist women through labor and should any complications arise, these nurses aid physicians in providing immediate medical attention and care to the mother and child. In addition, many perinatal nurses also teach new mothers and their families about how to properly care for a newborn.
How Can I Become a Perinatal Nurse?
Perinatal nursing is an advanced nursing profession, meaning that those who wish to pursue a career in perinatal nursing must be ready to commit to educating themselves beyond the minimum registered nursing requirements. Perinatal nurses must have at least a master’s degree in nursing, have passed the NCLEX-RN examination and hold a current registered nursing license, and also earn certification for perinatal nursing. Organizations like the American Nurses Credentialing Center offers certification for perinatal nurses, which is obtained after nurses pass an intensive examination designed to evaluate their skills in the field as well as general knowledge on perinatal caring. Many employers also require for prospective perinatal nurses to earn nurse practitioner credentials before they can work professionally. During the master’s nursing program, students should spend plenty of time learning in the classroom as well as participating in outside clinical work to gain first-hand experience in patient care. Internships and opportunities to shadow currently employed perinatal nurses are other great opportunities student nurses should take advantage of in order to improve their chances of finding work immediately after graduation.
What Is the Career and Salary Outlook for a Perinatal Nurse?
Employment of registered nurses is projected to increase 22 percent during the 2008-18 decade, adding approximately 581,500 jobs to the market, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, registered nurses make up the largest occupational field in the health care industry. This is because there will always be a demand for nurses due to the increasing population and necessity of professional health care. The career outlook for perinatal nurses will undoubtedly be favorable as well as the population increases, leading to more pregnant patients who need the assistance and guidance of skilled perinatal nurses. The salary outlook for these nurses is favorable as well. Perinatal nurses earn an average of $51,000 annually, according to Simply Hired. However, this salary can vary depending on the nurse’s specific employer, geographic location, and years of experience. For example, nurses working in bustling metropolitan cities typically earn thousands more than those who work in small, rural towns. Hospitals also tend to pay less than working for private physicians.