Welcome to our in-depth Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Certification article.
This article will enlighten you on the Neonatal Nurse Certification requirements, tips to ace the exam, and why certification is critical for Neonatal NPs.
You’ll be better prepared to take the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam by the end of this informative guide.
We will cover the following key topics in this article:
- What is Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Certification
- Details on the NCC Neonatal NP Certification Exam
- Tips to pass the NNP Certification Exam
Let’s jump right in!
Neonatal Nurse Practitioners (NNPs) are Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) that provide specialized nursing services to high-risk infants.
Neonatal NPs often work in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) and delivery rooms, providing various Neonatal health services.
The core duties of these highly trained healthcare providers include:
- Performing general assessment
- Diagnose infant diseases
- Perform medical procedures
- Training family members and Caregivers on proper neonatal care
- Providing acute care to sick infants
Neonatal NPs often work with Neonatologists, Nutritionists, Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, Family Nurse Practitioners, and other Neonatal Specialists.
Neonatal Nurse Practitioners must earn advanced certifications for NICU Nurses from the National Certification Corporation (NCC) to work professionally.
The certification process requires candidates to satisfy various Neonatal Nurse Practitioner education and certification requirements.
Continue reading to understand how to become a board-certified Nurse Practitioner-Neonatal.
What is Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Certification?
Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Certification is the validation of Neonatal Nurse Practitioner schooling based on a nationally approved competency-based certification exam.
The National Certification Corporation (NCC) is responsible for the National Certification for NP-Neonatal.
The NCC) accredits the competence and training of Neonatal NPs through a board-certified competency-based Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam.
Interested candidates must satisfy several educational and experience requirements before sitting for this crucial exam that allows them to earn the NNP-BC designation.
Continue reading as we explore everything about the NCC, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam.
Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam
The Neonatal NP Certification Exam is an entry-level national competency exam that gauges the suitability of Neonatal NPs using a certification exam.
The NNP Certification Exam is a three-hour, multiple-choice exam that tests candidates’ technical understanding, critical thinking, and clinical expertise.
NCC Exam eligibility requirements
Candidates need to satisfy the following eligibility requirements before sitting the NCC-NNP Certification Exam:
- Valid and active RN or APRN licensure
- Not more than eight years after graduation
- Diploma PDF file
- Official transcript PDF file (BSN, Masters, DNP)
- Master’s degree or DNP PDF file
- PDF of certificate of completion (MSN, DNP)
- Successful completion of ACEN or CCNE accredited graduate nursing program (MSN, DNP, Post Masters)
Additionally, the graduate Neonatal NP Nursing Program must meet the following requirements:
- University or college-sponsored
- Contain content aligned to the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Exam
- Runs for at least one academic year (nine months)
- Contain at least 200 hours of didactic and 600 hours of clinical training
- Accredited by the ACEN or CCNE
- Post-Baccalaureate and leads to a graduate or postgraduate degree
- Cover advanced physiology/Pathophysiology across the lifespan
- Cover advanced health assessment
- Cover advanced pharmacology
Check out the breakdown of an NCC-approved Neonatal NP Nursing Program:
General assessments (15%)
General Management (25%)
The disease process (60%)
NCC Exam structure
The Neonatal NP Certification Exam is composed of 175 multiple-choice questions.
Of the 175 questions, 150 questions carry a score, while 25 questions are for statistical data collection vital for exam preparation.
The NNP Certification is computer-based and offered in different testing centers across the country.
Here is the fee breakdown for the Neonatal NP computer testing program:
- Total cost – $325
- $50 non-refundable fee
- $275 testing fee
Other fees that may apply for particular circumstances include;
- Reprocessing fee – $30
- Withdrawal fee – $160 (a candidate will receive the balance of the exam fees less $160)
- Change request fee – $125
- Incomplete application fee -$30
- License verification -$30
Here is a breakdown of the NCC Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam.
General assessment (17%)
The exam will cover the following areas concerning general assessment:
1. Maternal history affecting the newborn
– Intrauterine Drug Exposure
– Physical examination and behavioral assessment
– Clinical laboratory tests
– Diagnostic techniques, equipment, and procedures
3. Family integration
– Grieving process
– Family integration and communication
General Management (19%)
The General Management exam section will cover the following topics:
2. Resuscitation and stabilization
3. Fluids and electrolytes
4. Growth and nutrition
Pharmacology test will cover the following areas:
1. Drugs and breastfeeding
2. Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics
3. Common drug therapies
Embryology, Physiology, Pathophysiology, and systems management (52%)
This section will test the following areas:
7. Infectious diseases
Professional issues (3%)
Professional issues will test candidates on the following:
1. Legal/ethical principles
2. Quality improvements
3. Patient safety
4. Evidence-based practice
Here is how to apply for the Neonatal NP Board exam.
Live Remote Proctoring
Neonatal NP candidates have the opportunity to schedule their NNP Certification via Live Remote Proctoring (LRP).
LRP is a secure, non-invasive online platform that allows candidates to take the exam under experienced and professional proctors in their offices, homes, or other remote settings.
Candidates get to use their computers in familiar settings, which improves their passing rates.
To qualify for the LRP, candidates need to satisfy the following requirements:
- Computer specifications (detachable webcam, microphone, broadband internet access)
- Technical requirements (laptop/desktop,1368×17679 resolution, wired connection, latest chrome version)
- Operating system requirements (Windows 8.1, 10, and 11)
After satisfying the technical requirements, candidates must schedule their LRP Certification Exam via the NCC website.
After scheduling the exam and receiving the confirmation, candidates will be able to take the exam on the scheduled date and time.
If you wish to take the NCC Certification Exam through computer testing, you need to schedule the exam via your NCC account, phone, or online.
Computer testing is available in 250 testing centers all over the country.
Registration for the exam is on-demand, and there is no application deadline.
Once you apply, it will take between 1-14 days to review and approve the application.
Once approved, you should be ready to take the exam within 90 days from the date of application.
You must schedule the exam dates, time, and location within the first 30 days of the 90-day window.
Here is some critical additional information on computer testing.
- The computer test is available in 250 AMP/PSI assessment centers
- Testing is available Monday through to Saturday
- Testing is by appointment only
- There are only two testing sessions per day (9 am and 1.30 pm)
- No breaks are available during testing
- Failure to report for your exam doesn’t qualify you for a refund
- A practice session is available before the commencement of the exam
Tips to ace the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam
After completing your NNP Program, it’s time to sit for the NCC Certification Exam.
The exam pass rate is relatively high at 70%, so proper exam preparation is critical.
This section will highlight actionable and sure-proof tips to help you prepare for the exam.
Consider using the following tips to maximize your revision and exam topic coverage:
1. Understand the exam structure
Ensure that you understand the exam length, number of questions, question format, topics of interest, and exam duration.
By clearly understanding the exam format and structure, you’ll be able to prepare better.
2. Use a study plan
The Neonatal NP coursework is quite extensive, and thus the certification exam has a large range of topics of interest.
Consider using a study guide to cover all the necessary exam topics effectively.
A professional Neonatal NP Certification study guide will maximize your efficiency and reduce time wastage.
3. Use Prep courses
Prep courses are an excellent way of preparing for your exam.
Using prep courses will grow your confidence and give you a feel of the final exam.
Consider opting for high-quality online courses with solid reviews containing sample questions, mock exams, and detailed explanations of answers.
Excellent study guides include Mometrix, Kaplan, and Exam Edge.
4. Pace your study
Don’t try to study everything at once.
Pace yourself and take frequent breaks whenever you feel overwhelmed or if your concentration is wavering.
Break complex topics into smaller manageable bits and always reward yourself after hitting a milestone.
5. Vary your study pattern
Try new study patterns like studying in the early morning or night.
Varying study patterns will help identify the time and study technique that is most productive for you.
Also, consider trying new study methods like watching videos or online tutorials.
6. Join a study group
If self-study proves challenging due to low concentration levels, consider joining a study group.
Study groups bring the fun into learning, help you cover ground much faster, and provide a different insight into the whole exam.
Ensure that you align yourself with a serious study group, as an unserious group will drain your focus and waste your time.
Before the exam
Use these tips to prepare before your exam.
1. Get enough rest
It’s critical to get enough rest on the day before the exam.
Consider sleeping early as this will physically and psychologically prepare you for the exam.
Additionally, studies have shown that a well-rested mind and body improve your cognitive abilities and subconscious memory, allowing you to answer questions better.
2. Don’t cram
Intense study on your last day will mess with your exam preparation.
Consider doing some light reading a few hours before you retire to sleep.
Intense study or cramming on the last day will increase anxiety or confuse you.
Opt to go for a walk, listen to music, or do other fun activities that help you relax.
3. Avoid intoxicants or stimulants
Avoid heavy drinking or consuming any drugs/narcotics before the exam day.
Drugs and alcohol may reduce your ability to sleep early/well, which may cause severe hangovers the next day.
Consider only consuming non-intoxicating foods and drinks
4. Have a nourishing meal
Feed your body with a nourishing meal on the eve of the exam.
Eating a healthy meal before the exam day will eliminate the need for a heavy breakfast, which will slow you down.
On the exam day
All your actions on this day must focus on guaranteeing your success.
1. Wake up early
Ensure that you give yourself at least two hours for preparation.
Early preparation allows you to freshen up, take breakfast and reduce instances of forgetting essential documents like your ID and eligibility letter.
2. Arrive early
Whether using RLP or computer testing, it’s advisable to arrive at least 30 minutes before the exam.
Early arrival will boost your confidence and help you relax.
3. Dress comfortably
Ensure that your dressing is comfortable to take the exam without any discomfort.
Avoid excessively tight, flimsy, or heavy clothing that may make you too hot or cold.
Consider wearing well-fitting clothes that don’t restrict circulation and provide enough comfort.
During the exam
Use the following hacks in the exam room:
1. Understand before answering
Ensure that you read the question twice before attempting to answer.
You will avoid mistakes and catch any tricks that the exam throws at you by clearly understanding the questions before answering.
2. Start with the easy questions
Attempt the most straightforward questions first and gradually progress to the more difficult questions.
Please note that there are no penalties for wrong answers and therefore attempt all questions.
Starting with more straightforward questions will save time and boost your confidence.
3. Use the elimination method
Since the test is multiple choice consider using the elimination method when answering.
The elimination method means disregarding the most wrong choice first and working towards the correct answer.
4. Plan your time
Considering that the exam takes 180 minutes to answer 150 questions, you have at least one minute per question.
Avoid rushing through the exam, and don’t take too much time for a single question.
If you don’t understand the question, consider answering the following question and reverting to the hard questions after finishing.
Why is NNP Certification necessary?
Earning the NNP-BC designation is a crucial NNP requirement, and here is why.
1. Proves competency
The NNP Certification proves the competence of a Neonatal Nurse’s schooling.
Passing the exam implies that the educational and technical competence of a Neonatal NP is sound, and thus, they can professionally practice without endangering patient lives.
2. Meet certification requirements
Sitting for the NCC Certification Exam allows candidates to meet the statutory NNP Certification requirements.
After successfully sitting the exam, candidates earn the NNP-BC designation, which denotes them as fully trained and qualified Neonatal Nurse Practitioners.
3. Improves professional portfolio
The NNP-BC improves your professional portfolio allowing you access to better-paying professional roles.
Candidates with the Neonatal NP Certification often qualify for senior leadership positions.
4. Confidence boost
Acing the Neonatal NP Certification Exam is a big confidence boost for an NNP candidate.
Knowing that you have fulfilled the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner education and certification requirements allows you to be a better NNP overall.
5. Deliver specialized services
Candidates who fulfill the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner education requirements gain a high level of technical and clinical expertise necessary for the job.
The Neonatal NP Certificate Program is crucial for the safety and well-being of patients.
Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Certification is an essential part of a professional NNPs journey.
Certified NICU Nurses who wish to advance their training must enroll in a Neonatal NP school of nursing program that aligns with the NCC Certification requirements.
The full-time or part-time advanced certification for NICU Nurses must cover all the necessary topics and areas of interest outlined by the NCC.
After meeting the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner education requirements (Master’s, Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), NNP post-masters certificate), a candidate can sit the certification exam.
Candidates who pass this certification exam earn the NNP-BC designation.
We hope that this comprehensive guide has answered all your questions concerning the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam.
Continue reading for detailed answers to our reader’s frequently asked questions.
Are Neonatal Nurse Practitioners in demand?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for NNPs will grow by 45% between 2020 and 2030. The increasing need for Neonatal NP services is mainly due to;
– Fewer NNP residents in NICU Units
– Growth of the Neonatal nursing field
– High number of NNP retirees
Can you become a Nurse Practitioner without a BSN?
Use these steps to become an NP without a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.
– Earn the RN designation using an ADN or other approved degrees
– Enroll in a Nurse Practitioner Program that doesn’t require a BSN ex RN-MSN Program
– Gain clinical experience
– Sit for the NP Certification Exam
– Apply for a Nurse Practitioner license
How to become a Certified Neonatal Nurse?
Here is how to become a Certified Neonatal Nurse.
– Enroll for a BSN nursing degree
– Enroll for the NCLEX-RN Certification Exam
– Gain NICU clinical practice experience
– Enroll for an NNP degree (MSN or doctoral program)
Is being a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner stressful?
Factors that contribute to an NNPs stress include;
– Dealing with anxious family members
– Emotional pain due to infants suffering
– Physical strain from working long shifts
– Dealing with grief due to the death of a patient
– Exposure to infections and diseases
What skills do you need to become a Neonatal NP?
Working with high-risk infants requires Neonatal NPs to possess the following skills:
– Strong communication skills
– Attention to details
– Problem-solving skills
– Critical thinking
– Manual dexterity
– Interpersonal skills
– Timekeeping skills
– Ability to work under pressure
– Strong assessment skills
– Leadership skills
How does an NP get certified?
– Enroll in an approved nursing program
– Earn an RN license
– Gain nursing experience in their Nursing specialty
– Enroll in an approved post-bachelors nursing program
– Sit for the Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam
– Apply for licensure from the relevant Nurse Practitioner Board
What is the Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP)?
An AGPCNP is a Nurse Practitioner specializing in the care and treatment of adults.
The duties of AGPCNP include conducting health assessments, performing screening tests, interpreting diagnostic tests, and drug administration. AGPCNPs often work in long-term care facilities, hospitals, and private outpatient clinics.