Nursing is a fast-growing profession with a wide range of applications in the health care industry. Specialized nurses with education and experience in a particular area, such as maternity and neonatal care, are highly sought after by hospitals and clinics. Neonatal nurses work in hospital maternity wards or in private clinics to provide direct care to infants and mothers.

Neonatal Nurse Degree Options

Educational options for nurses range from associate degrees all the way to doctorates in nursing practice. To become a registered nurse it is usually necessary to have a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Most programs do not offer a specialization in neonatal nursing at the bachelor’s level, but they do have elective courses and internships where students can gain experience working in the neonatal environment. High school students who are interested in a career in neonatal nursing can prepare by taking courses in mathematics, biology and chemistry.

Mathematics

While nursing degrees don’t require a lot of advanced mathematics, the coursework in chemistry, biology and nursing is dependent upon a solid background in basic math. Students in high school who want to go into neonatal nursing should take algebra 1 and 2. Algebra classes cover topics like integers, radicals, exponents, inequalities and linear equations. These skills are very useful in chemistry and biology classes, where understanding and manipulating chemical formulae require the application of algebraic principles.

Biology

A large portion of the coursework in a nursing degree is based on biology. Most nursing programs require students to take basic biology, anatomy and physiology, and other courses that deal with specific aspects of living organisms. In high school, students can begin preparing for this coursework by taking the general biology class offered by their school. These classes cover topics like cellular structure, ecology and vertebrate physiology. If available, students can also take an advanced placement biology course and examination that can be transferred for college credit.

Chemistry

Neonatal nursing requires a familiarity chemical formulae, chemical interactions and the relationship between pharmaceuticals and an infant’s biochemical condition. Nursing degrees require courses in pharmacology and biochemistry, as well as other classes that depend on a knowledge of chemical reactions. Students in high school can take general chemistry, which covers topics like atomic structure, chemical formulae, balancing equations and chemistry laboratory skills. They can also take an advanced placement chemistry course that goes deeper into these subjects and prepares students for the advanced placement exam.