Masters in Nursing Perinatal
Perinatal means the period "around birth," which incorporates pregnancy, the neonatal period and the few days or weeks following birth. A Masters in Nursing for Perinatal is generally a degree in clinical nurse specialist with focus on working in a perinatal services environment. This career option includes attending the health needs of the fetus, the mother, and both mother and baby following birth. A perinatal clinical nurse specialist has several career tracks within the various healthcare environments that provide care for pregnant women and infants. They work in both inpatient and outpatient settings, with emphasis placed on several areas of treatment along the way. Treatment for mother and child changes dramatically through the stages of late pregnancy, birth, and early infancy.
The earliest stage is working with the childbearing mother and family, monitoring the progress of the pregnancy for any signs of complication. The next stage is acting as an interdisciplinary liaison for mothers who have health problems that are complicating the pregnancy, or who are carrying a fetus that is exhibiting abnormal symptoms. At that point several medical specialists may become involved and numerous complicated medical tests may be necessary. A Masters in Nursing Perinatal takes mother, fetus and family through those processes. The last stage is the postpartum period, working with parents on the challenges of a new baby, breastfeeding, and the stress that a major life change such as a newborn can bring into a household.
Perhaps the most rewarding position for a perinatal clinical nurse specialist is the contribution he or she can make during pregnancy complications. A medical expert other than the physician is a welcome sight to many frightened expectant mothers. The clinical hours required for this advanced practice nursing specialty provide students with the opportunity to develop the knowledge required for managing pregnancy challenges and the experience in working with anxious mothers-to-be. There are some schools of nursing that offer this specialty for nurse practitioner students, but generally it is a field for clinical nurse specialists. There are a few online Masters in Nursing Perinatal programs where the school is willing to work with the student in arranging an acceptable location for clinical training.