Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP)

Overview

The Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) is prepared as a  clinician who manages the health care of high-risk infants within families, and children up to 2 years of age. This expanded role is performed in collaboration with neonatologists and other pediatric clinicians. Graduates assume  leadership roles in a variety of clinical settings including intensive care nurseries of various levels, newborn nurseries and high-risk follow-up clinics. Course work and clinical experiences focus on the care and management of critically ill and convalescent premature and full-term infants.  Graduates select and perform diagnostic and therapeutic invasive procedures on newborns in the intensive care setting.  Students are also prepared to participate in research.

The NNP area of concentration offers both full time and part time study only onsite at main campus in Pittsburgh.  A post master’s option is also available.  Selected core courses may be transmitted concurrently to regional campuses. The sequence of courses provides for a logical building of the clinical decision making skill necessary to function as a NNP. Specifically pathophysiology, pharmacology, and health promotion are foundational and are required early in the program of study.  Management courses follow the courses in Physical Examination and Differential Diagnosis.  Neonatal specialty courses focus on the developmental, diagnostic and physiological differences among high-risk neonates and children up to 2 years of age.  Culminating role and clinical practice are in the final term of study and are synthesizing experiences that prepare graduates for immediate employment as NNPs. 

Applicants must have an earned BSN.   Prospective students must also have the equivalent of two years full time (within the last five years) practice experience as a registered nurse (RN) caring for critically Ill newborns, infants and children in critical care inpatient settings parimairly in a Level III or IV Neonatal Intensive Care unit (NICU) before enrolling in clinical courses.  Students may enroll in pre-clinical courses while obtaining the practice experience. 

Graduates are eligible to take the NNP certification examination offered by the National Certification Corporation (NCC) and to apply for legal certification as a  NNP and prescriptive privileges through the State Board of Nursing of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and other states. 

Employment opportunities for NNPs are plentiful across the nation. NNPs are primarily employed in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) and are involved in coordinating and managing care for infants with chronic health problems and providing continuity for these children from hospital to home.

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