Tops Skills to Sharpen as a Neonatal Nurse

Debra Riley


Catering to newborn babies requires a unique set of skills. A combination of medical and interpersonal skills will go a long way in enhancing your service delivery in the infant intensive care unit.

Sharpening these skills will help you advance your career and provide your patients with top-quality care.

Neonatal intensive care unit nurses have diverse responsibilities, from updating patient records to training newborn moms’ on how to make their infants comfortable and healthy. The sensitivity that comes with a particular unit requires one to be meticulous.

Let’s review some essential skills you need to work on as a NICU nurse.

Skills as a Neonatal Nurse

Respiratory Care

Newborns in the NICU often need help maintaining regular breathing. Therefore, you need to learn specific techniques to offer infants respiratory care. Respiratory care can include oxygen or ventilator therapy.

It is also essential to understand the different settings and modes of a ventilator and data analysis to ensure the infant is breathing without much difficulty.

Administration of Drugs

As a neonatal intensive care unit nurse, you should broaden your medication administration scope. It means you should perfect your knowledge of drug interactions, dosage, side effects, and specific administration techniques.

Once you understand these key points, you will be more aware of drug reactions or the need to increase or reduce dosage. 

Nutritional Care

Infants do not feed; thus, you must learn different feeding methods, especially if an infant struggles to breastfeed. Understanding an infant’s nutritional care means identifying and solving any feeding challenges the infant might face.

Infection Prevention 

Children are more vulnerable to infections, and the hospital environment heightens this risk. Therefore, as a nurse in the NICU, it is best to sharpen your knowledge of preventing and managing infections among infants.

Infection prevention includes using sterile gowns and gloves to make the neonatal intensive care unit clean enough. Following the specified hygiene protocols during patient care is essential and is among the best ways to prevent infections in the NICU.


As a nurse, you will spend most of your time talking to patients’ relatives, doctors, and other colleagues, thus the need to develop proper communication skills. Good communication skills will help you break down information on patient management to relatives and even your colleagues.

You will need communication skills to help you document medical records since you will be able to capture every detail straightforwardly.

Therefore, you should develop verbal and written communication skills to guarantee quality medical service delivery. 

nurse caring for a baby

Health Record Documentation

Documenting health records is a skill that every nurse should have, especially in the NICU. Infants experience various changes in their health within a short span; thus, you need to be more elaborate with the documentation.

The documentation should capture every change noted in the patient and the specific timelines within which they occurred. Therefore, you should be more observant to catch vital patient management information.


A writer at a top essay service produces quality papers because they have mastered proficiency. Proficiency is a high degree of skill set, and it is needed in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Being a nurse in this unit means handling various procedures on smaller and more sensitive patients. You will need precision in every procedure you carry out, from fixing IV insertion to medication administration and feeding.

neonatal unit nurses


Working in the NICU means you will be working longer hours and on-call shifts. So, you should be swift and up on your feet for long hours during your shift. Nursing school teaches you endurance from the long hours in class to bulky assignments.

Due to the critical nature of this course, you will need both physical and mental endurance. The shifts can be overwhelming, and you should have the capability to keep going and stay focused throughout.

Attention to Detail

Working in the NICU requires meticulousness when recording findings or administering medication. Paying attention to detail ensures the patient receives maximum care, increasing the treatment’s success.

Being meticulous also includes understanding any allergies the patient has and all the medication the patient is taking, and this is particularly essential when dealing with infants.

Nurses must be more observant when treating newborns and pick out any cause for alarm.


You will be required to be in different places simultaneously; thus, it is best to sharpen your multitasking capability. Additionally, nurses are usually expected to care for more than one patient within a short period; therefore, you will need to be intentional about quality service delivery.

One patient may also have multiple concerns you will be called to handle simultaneously. For example, you must monitor their respiration while still carrying out a procedure such as IV insertion.

Thus, perfecting your multitasking skills helps you handle several duties while maintaining quality service delivery.


Empathy allows you to put yourself in the patient’s shoes, which enables you to understand the unique situation of every patient and their family’s expectations. When a nurse is empathetic, they easily connect with the patient and their family, making it possible to give specific directions that will help the patient’s treatment process.

Moreover, empathy allows a nurse to communicate better while acknowledging the patient’s and family’s emotions. Empathy also allows nurses to notice any distress in patients and make the relevant adjustments.

You may not be taught how to be empathetic in nursing school since it is an inherent trait. However, you can develop this skill as you nurture your career.

Final Take

Neonatal intensive care unit nurses take care of the most vulnerable patients. It can be a fulfilling career, but it can also be intense. To gear up for the intense nature of this specialty, you need to get up with the right skills to ensure you deliver quality medical services.

Developing the skills relevant to this field can help you advance your career and become a better professional. As a neonatal nurse, you will interact with the patient, their family, and your colleagues; thus, you will need to develop various interpersonal skills alongside the required medical skills.