Neonatal Nursing FAQs

What is a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner?
A Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) is an advanced practice nurse who has clinical expertise in neonatal nursing and is educated in the management of high-risk neonate that incorporates principles of fetal development, physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, developmental theory, and family theory. NNPs are also involved in case management, consultation, education and research activities.

The National Association of Neonatal Nurse Practitioners (NANNP) recognizes the NNP as a nurse leader, clinical expert, educator, researcher, consultant, and advocate for neonates and their families. Because state regulations for licensure vary, the NNP practices as an independent practitioner in collaboration with or under the supervision of a licensed and credentialed neonatologist (APRN Consensus Work Group, 2008). As a healthcare provider within an interprofessional team, the NNP functions in many settings that include but are not limited to transport, all levels of neonatal inpatient care, acute and chronic care, and outpatient care. He or she may practice in academic and private community settings.

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP-BC) is the designation for a neonatal nurse practitioner who has earned nursing board certification from the National Certification Corporation.

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.

What salary can the NNP expect to earn?

In USD as of Oct 27, 2013




Neonatal Nurse Practitioner



Average Neonatal Nurse Practitioner salaries for job postings nationwide are 49% higher than average salaries for all job postings nationwide.

How long is the BSN to DNP NNP plan of study?
The full time plan of study is 30 months including summer terms. Less than full time options are available for 36 and 40 months of study.

What are the clinical sites that UTHSC uses for neonatal preparation?
Clinical experiences required for certification take place predominantly in tertiary care centers including 3 levels of nurseries in the Tristate Region of Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi:

Level I – Newborn Nursery
Level II – Intermediate Care Nursery
Level III – Neonatal Intensive Care Nursery

In addition, students will participate in Newborn follow-up clinics for infants who required intensive care following birth.

What are the benefits of the clinical sites UT uses?
We are fortunate to have the highest level of neonatal intensive care units in several cities in Tennessee which provide students with experiences in comprehensive care for extremely low birth weight infants (1000 g birth weight or less and 28 or less weeks' gestation); advanced respiratory care such as high-frequency ventilation and inhaled nitric oxide; prompt and on-site access to a full range of pediatric medical subspecialists; and advanced imaging with interpretation on an urgent basis, including computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and echocardiography and have pediatric surgical specialists and pediatric anesthesiologists on site or at a closely related institution to perform major surgery, ECMO and surgical repair of serious congenital cardiac malformations that require cardiopulmonary bypass.

Will students have to take a board certification examination?
UTHSC NNP Graduates are eligible to take the national board certification examination offered by The National Certification Corporation for Neonatal Nurse Practitioners, which is required for advanced practice in neonatal intensive care units.

How many students are accepted each year? How many apply?
The number of applicants varies from year to year. Qualified applicants must meet the minimum requirement of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program. In addition, The DNP NNP program requires applicants to have a minimum of one (1) year full-time, recent (within the last 5 years) practice experience as a registered nurse (RN) in the care of critically ill newborns, infants, or children in an acute inpatient setting.

What can increase my chances of being accepted?
Priority is given to Tennessee Residents. Students who have experience in a Level III NICU and demonstrate critical thinking are highly ranked.

How much is the tuition for Neonatal Nurse Practitioner program?
Here's a list of the Fees and tuition costs for the program. Please see the Office of Financial Aid questions on the most current in-state and out-of-state rates. As of May 2013, the instate tuition for a full time student is $6,295.00.

Is financial aid available? If so, how do I apply?
Complete information on need-based financial aid and supplemental loan programs is available from the UTHSC Office of Financial Aid. The Office of Financial Aid can help you apply for need-based financial aid, download applications, search for scholarships, and obtain detailed information about the many options available for meeting graduate school costs. The Office of Financial Aid can also be reached by phone at (901) 448-5568.

Can I work during the program?
Working is strongly discouraged due to the academic rigor and time constraints of the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner program. However, options for a variable attendance period, for example, taking 8-9 hours per term is available. However, part time attendance will require a longer attendance period.

What certifications do I need?
Neonatal Resuscitation Program – Neonatal Advanced Life Support certifications are required at application and must be maintained throughout the program.

How and when do I apply?
Applications are accepted year round. Prospective students MUST apply to the DNP program through NursingCAS, a national nursing centralized application service endorsed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Specific instructions are provided on the UTHSC NursingCAS Info page. Deadlines for applications to upcoming admission periods as well as information on the application process may be found on the DNP Admissions Requirements page.

From whom should my three letters of recommendation be? How can I obtain an academic reference if I have been out of my undergraduate program for many years?
Letters of recommendation should be submitted by a clinical supervisor and 2 graduate prepared clinicians including an academic professor. An academic reference is required. If a BSN professor who knows you is not available, ask a clinical educator who can attest to your academic aptitude.

Is there a GRE waiver?
The GRE is not required for admission but may be submitted for consideration.

English is not my first language. Is the TOEFL required?
Yes, the TOEFL is required for students whose native language is not English or if at any time during the application process there is reason to believe the applicant is not proficient in the English language.

I received my first bachelor’s degree in another country. Do I need to send an official transcript?
Yes. You will need to send official transcripts AND they must be evaluated by World Education Service ( For a fee, WES will convert your transcript to American credit units and American semester grades. An official WES report must be sent with your application.

I am an RN with an associate’s degree in nursing and a Bachelor of Science degree in another field. Can I apply to your program?
We require a BSN or an MSN degree for admission.

Is an interview required?
Yes, face-to-face interviews are by invitation only and will take in the spring months prior to the decision for acceptance.

When and how do I find out if I have been accepted?
Interviews are in the Spring prior to August matriculation. If you do not receive an offer of admission you may be placed on our alternate list, you may receive a call at any time prior to the program actually starting if a position opens.

When does the program start?
There is a program introduction for incoming students in August each year.

Can I begin taking courses after acceptance but before the program starts?
Students may enroll in select UTHSC College of Nursing courses with permission from the Academic Dean. You might also take an equivalent graduate-level biostatistics or healthcare economics course at another institution if you seek prior approval from the College of Nursing Dean for Academic Affairs by providing the course syllabus. You must then submit supporting transcript documentation to request actual transfer of credit. Be advised that transferring courses may affect your ability to secure student loans; currently, a minimum 5 credits are required to qualify for part-time status.

Do you offer a post-certification DNP in Neonatal Nursing?
Yes, NNP-BCs who are certified and who wish to complete a DNP may complete the DNP in as short as 18 months but a part time plan of study is available.

Susan B. Patton, DNSc, APN, PNP-BC
Professor, DNP Pediatric and Neonatal Coordinator
Department of Advanced Practice and Doctoral Studies
920 Madison, #962
Memphis, TN 38163

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