What is a Perinatal Nurse?

Choosing to become a perinatal nurse is one of the best decisions you can ever make if you are the type of person who loves to interact with women and children. Perinatal nurses work in hospitals, community health centers and foster homes. They help women manage pregnancy, give birth and take care of their children properly. This post will give you a quick overview of the key responsibilities of perinatal nurses, how to become one and the career outlook.

Key Responsibilities

Perinatal nurses work with women during pregnancy, birth and post-partum. They educate them about the unborn babies and provide them with tips on how to have a safe and healthy pregnancy. They cover topics such as childbirth options, bonding with a baby after birth, possible pregnancy complications, umbilical cord care, post-partum depression and vaccines. Perinatal nurses provide care at the initial stages of pregnancy throughout to the second month of the baby’s life. They also collaborate with midwife nurses to assist women in giving birth, especially when complications arise.

Becoming a Perinatal Nurse

Aspiring perinatal nurses should first pursue a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing degree in a recognized school. A BSN degree program requires students to complete courses in psychology, anatomy, nutrition, biology, emergency care and public health. The degree usually takes between three to four years to complete. It is important you talk to a course tutor in your college to determine the steps they recommend for students who want to become perinatal nurses. You might also want to know about the potential internship programs that will give you the maximum exposure to perinatal care.

Perinatal nurses must first obtain an RN certification. In order to get this certification, you must pass the National Council of Licensure Examinations (NCLEX-RN). These exams test your understanding of the frameworks used to make nursing judgments. You don’t need to take this examination for the second time if you already have the RN certification. You must contact the examination board in the state where you wish to be registered.

You can also choose to complete a master’s degree in nursing or apply for additional certification to increase your chances of moving into an advanced field of perinatal nursing. Some training institutions give Perinatal Nurse Specialist (PNS) and Perinatal Nurse Practioner (PNP) certifications to those who have obtained specialized training in perinatal care. You can also get a certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Characteristics of Perinatal Nurses

Those who want to offer perinatal care must possess certain characteristics in order to function optimally. These include patience, caring attitude, ability to think quickly and critically and excellent communication skills. They should also be able to perform exceptionally under pressure, adapt to change, pay attention to detail and work for long hours.

Salary Information and Career Outlook

Perinatal and midwife nurses have almost similar roles. Some hospitals and organizations even classify them into one category. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, perinatal nurses earned an average salary of $107,460 in 2016. The Bureau also projects the employment rate to grow by 31 percent in the next 10 years. This is considered much faster than the national average rate and represents a lot of prospects for those who want to become perinatal caregivers.

Related Resource: What is a Geriatric Nurse?

Pursuing a career in perinatal care gives you an opportunity to interact with mothers and children. It is a perfect career for those who would love to help expectant mothers and make their lives more enjoyable. The items discussed above will give you more insight on what is a perinatal nurse and how you can become one.