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Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

The Neonatal Nurse Practitioner option is designed to prepare the registered nurse with specialized knowledge and skills to provide care for pre-mature and critically ill newborns through the first two years of life. Coursework and supervised clinical experiences assist students to develop expertise in assessment, diagnosis, and management of acute and chronic illnesses in these children across healthcare settings.

Health promotion and development, family support, interprofessional collaborations, and evidence-based practice are emphasized throughout the program. Graduates are eligible to take the national certification examinations for Neonatal Nurse Practitioners. Graduates are expected to contribute to the development of policies and practice models that promote evidence-based care for neonates and their families.

Degree concentrations include pathways for those wishing to obtain initial Neonatal Nurse Practitioner certification and for APRNs with current Neonatal Nurse Practitioner credentials.

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner FAQs

What skills do NNPs have?
NNPs perform all standard procedural skills unique to managing a sick neonate, including (but not limited to) umbilical catheterization, endotracheal intubation, chest tube insertion, lumbar punctures, exchange transfusions, and percutaneous venous and arterial line placement. NNPs also possess the skills necessary to order and interpret diagnostic tests, prescribe medications and manage nutritional needs.
Where can I work after graduation?
Most Neonatal Nurse Practitioners work in hospitals and urgent care clinics. The scope of practice is determined by individual state legislation though rules and regulations vary. Most scope of practice is based on both education and experience. The best place to explore individual scope of practice issues is to look at the State Board of Nursing for guidance and not the physician or office manager in a practice.
What salary can a NNP expect to earn?
Compensation rates vary regionally but the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that nurse practitioners generally start around $72,000 and top out around $150,000 with the median around $100,000.
What makes the NNP program at UTHSC different?
The UTHSC NNP program is fortunate to be in close proximity to the highest level of neonatal intensive care units located in several cities in Tennessee. Along with a dynamic and challenging didactic program, our clinical program requires a minimum of 600 hours of clinical time in a level III or level IV NICU and involves direct, hands-on patient care. The UTHSC program has built in 1020 clinical hours to allow for additional, broad experiences encompassing prenatal to chronic care for the NICU graduate.
How long is the program?
The length of the program depends on your background. DNP student’s program length depends on any graduate studies completed or if they are currently APN’s. Please see the links to the various program plans of studies.
Can I go part time, full time?
Full-time and part-time plans of study are available. Students should consult with the concentration coordinator about how to best proceed with his/her respective program needs.
Can I work while going to school?
The UT program is a rigorous full-time program. The program includes substantial clinical experiences some terms. For this reason, students are cautioned about trying to work full-time while going to school. Each student is an individual with individual family/personal responsibilities and support. If work is essential, students are encouraged to explore flexible part-time employment. Students are also encouraged to save or bank vacation or other leave that can be used to lessen work during the program. 
How much will this program cost?
Tuition costs are determined by in-state or out-of-state status and may change during the program. Tuition and fee information can be found at UTHSC Cost of Attendance. Additionally, the Educational Common Market may be available for some out-of-state students. Information on this program can be obtained at the Office of Financial Aid. Many employers also offer tuition reimbursement even for part-time employees. Additionally, students will need to make arrangements for travel and hotel accommodations during the on campus experiences. Students should also explore the many private scholarship funds available for graduate study in their communities, region, state and nation. A Google search of graduate nursing scholarships will produce vast opportunities. Many diverse groups offer scholarship programs and some states and organizations also have loan repayment programs for nursing education. There are also federal government grants for nursing students.
What books, equipment and supplies will I need?
Book purchases will vary by semester. Many books specific to the ACNP will be used in multiple semesters. Textbooks are supplemented with electronic media, much of which is available in the library for the students at no cost. Students will also need adequate computer hardware and Internet access. Students will need basic health assessment equipment including an otoscope, ophthalmic scope and a high quality stethoscope. Students generally do not have clinical their first semester and are encouraged to wait to purchase this equipment closer to their first clinical course. Requirements do change as the quality of this equipment continually advances. Lab coats will be required for clinical experiences but the specifications do periodically change.
Where/when do I do my clinical experiences?
Clinical experiences are interspersed throughout the program and vary by track, option and student background. Clinical experiences are noted in the plan of study. One credit of clinical experience equates to 60 clinical clock hours. To determine the number of clinical hours simply multiply the credits in the plan of study by 60. Clinical hours do not include on-campus experiences, conferences, travel or mealtime. Please remember that these are minimum hours. Becoming clinically proficient may take additional time.
How do I find a clinical site?
The faculty has a group of highly qualified preceptors and will place most students in clinical experiences that offer opportunities to meet the course outcomes. Students who live outside of the Memphis area will work with the clinical course faculty to identify appropriate clinical sites. Relatives may not serve as preceptors for students. Clinical contracts are complex and time consuming so; it is important to start this process ASAP.
Do I have to come to campus?
On-campus experiences are scheduled occasionally as a part of specific courses to provide structured experiences in simulation. They last about 1 or 2 days and are identified 6 months in advance. A schedule is published in our academic calendar page.
How is a primarily "online" education different?
Online education is very popular as it offers the student the opportunity to stay at home while learning. In today’s economic climate with rising gas prices this can be a real cost saver. It is more flexible than most traditional class schedules, so in many cases you can attend classes day or night, whichever is more accommodating to your style of learning. You can attend class around other obligations in most cases. Some online educational experiences are scheduled at a designated time, so you will have some structure. Online education takes discipline and selfmotivation; it is not for everyone. Online education is also more interactive; no more sitting in the back of the class listening to someone lecture. Rather, class learning is full of reading and discussing among the learners with guidance from the faculty. Keyboard skills are very handy in this environment. Since communication is primarily written, strong grammar and writing skills are a plus. Online learning can be lonesome but there are certainly opportunities online and during the on-campus weeks to get to know your colleagues and to develop strong professional relationships. While online learning is not for everyone, it is gaining in popularity. It has an excellent reputation for providing high quality educational opportunities. The Faculty at UTHSC are some of the first educators in the nation to integrate this paradigm and have an excellent reputation for this type of learning.
What are some tips to enhance my educational experience?

You could shadow a NNP for a day or two. Learn as much as you can about the role by meeting APRNs and visiting the local and national web sites or meetings.

Find and visit your local NP group meetings. The Greater Memphis Area APN group web page is:

Obtain a diagnostic evaluation of your learning style. There are numerous online engines that offer this service at no cost, simply Google the phrase – learning style assessment- to locate these instruments.  The College of Nursing will offer this service to you after you are admitted and prior to beginning classes.  We will also offer an intensive review of your health assessment skills prior to class beginning. 

Evaluate your family, community and work commitments and prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. The program will take most of your time and energy. You do not have to quit your family or community commitments but you do need to be realistic about how much effort you can commit during school. You don’t have to say no but rather not at this time.

Last Published: Aug 31, 2017