7 Crucial Skills Neonatal Nurses Should Have

Newborn baby on incubator

Working as a neonatal nurse is an enjoyable and rewarding career. However, it requires one to develop a diverse set of skills to provide the best care to some of the most fragile of all patients, infants.

One moment, you will be thrilled about the birth of a new baby, and the next, you may be consumed with intense sadness over the loss of one. If you are considering becoming a neonatal nurse, here are seven crucial skills you should have to be successful. 

1. Specialized Medical Knowledge And Skills

Neonatal nurses must have proper specialized education to care for babies. Since neonatal nurses cannot ask infants questions to determine areas of concern, they must possess the knowledge and skills to interpret medical readings and visual data to establish the best care.

Consider enrolling in Newcastle Training to gain the basic techniques and skills for neonatal resuscitation to reduce neonatal mortality and morbidity.

2. Emotional Stability

Working as a neonatal nurse can be emotionally taxing because it exposes you to various heartbreaking situations in the form of suffering and emergencies. Witnessing infants born with medical conditions struggle for their lives and the distress in expectant parents can cause an emotional toll upon neonatal nurses.

You should be emotionally stable and be able to deal with stress by remaining as detached from situations as possible, and staying strong while showcasing genuine concern and care. This enables you to remain focused on the medical aspects of your job and provide the best support for parents.

3. Dexterity

The ability to handle tasks using hands is critical in every nursing profession, including neonatal nurses. Newborns are tiny, vulnerable, and can easily get injured, so neonatal nurses should have nimble fingers to perform the essential procedures.

A neonatal nurse should be able to handle the infants gently, even when they are moving erratically. Excellent dexterity makes it more straightforward to care for newborns and enables you to complete tasks faster.

4. Empathy

Infants born with extreme medical conditions cannot be in direct contact with their mothers, so they need persons with almost a motherly instinct to care for and support them. As a neonatal nurse, you should be able to take up the maternal role and combine genuine love and empathy for the newborn with high-quality medical emergency skills. 

An empathic neonatal nurse can quickly identify signs of distress in an infant, enabling them to adjust care and support accordingly. Empathy also enables you to provide comfort to a critically ill newborn’s parents. It makes you more likely to build a meaningful connection with the infant’s family.

5. Effective Communication Skills

As a neonatal nurse, you play the role of a mediator between your patient’s parents and the doctor, so you must possess excellent communication skills. You should be able to explain complex terminologies and conditions effectively to the parents.

You must also actively listen to the patient’s family fears and concerns to develop and maintain trust. Neonatal nurses should also be able to effectively express parents’ concerns or any issues with their patients to the doctor to foster error-free care.

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During discharge, neonatal nurses should be able to provide guidelines on how to care for the infant. 

6. Attention To Detail

A newborn undergoes rapid development, especially when born before the anticipated due date. For this reason, neonatal nurses should familiarize themselves with the different stages of development.

This enables them to quickly identify even the most minor changes that could signal health concerns. Owing to the fact that newborns cannot communicate, a neonatal nurse who’s keen on details is the primary line of defense against complications.

Attention to detail goes a long way in ensuring you record correct measurements and provide the proper medication while keeping the patient’s previous medical history in mind, which fosters successful medical treatment.

7. You Should Be Excellent At Multitasking

As a neonatal nurse, you will likely extend beyond your assigned roles to provide the best care for newborns. You may be expected to dispense medication, monitor vital organs, and feed the babies within a single shift. For this reason, you need to possess excellent multitasking skills to treat newborns efficiently.

Neonatal nurses should also know how and why sudden changes in key indicators like spikes in body temperature and blood pressure dips occur. They should then be able to analyze situations critically and think quickly to provide the best care or even request medical intervention where necessary.


Few things can be more gratifying than providing the best care to some of the most fragile and vulnerable individuals, newborns.

Dexterity, multi-tasking, communication, attention to detail, empathy, emotional stability, and comprehensive medical skills and knowledge are critical skills every neonatal nurse should have to provide the best care for their patients.

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