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The term “nursery nurse” can mean different things in different places. In the United States and Canada, a nursery nurse is a medically-credentialed professional — usually a registered nurse — who specializes in caring for newborns and infants. Most nursery nurses work in hospitals providing medical treatment to babies. In the United Kingdom, however, a nursery nurse is more like a childcare specialist who looks after young children and encourages their social and educational development. English nursery nurses are not typically medically qualified, and in fact do not usually even need a university degree to be competitive.
Nursery nurse jobs are accordingly wide-ranging. In the US and Canada, nursery nurse jobs in hospitals are the most common. When babies are born in hospitals, they are generally taken to nursery rooms where they are looked after and monitored by a team of nursery nurses and doctors. Babies who are struggling, or who were born with certain problems, are often looked after in an intensive-care unit. Nursery nurse jobs in the intensive care unit are generally reserved for the most qualified and specialized nurses, owing to the complexity of many of the procedures that are done there.
Not all nursery nurses work in hospitals, however. Many find work in clinics or private medical practices, and still others are contracted independently to care for new mothers and babies in a home setting. When babies are born with chronic conditions or when they are in need of certain treatments in the first few months of life, parents may elect to leave the hospital, but they still have a need for specialized care. An in-home nursery nurse may fill that need.
Across the Atlantic in England, nursery nurse jobs are different altogether. An English nursery nurse is more like a nanny or a childcare professional than an medical nurse. English nursery nurses typically work with toddlers and children up to five years of age, encouraging play, development, and social interaction. These kinds of nursery nurses may work in a hospital, but they would be in the childcare room for healthy children or assisting with a play group for certain special-needs children, not on the newborn ward or in the intensive care unit.
English nursery nurse jobs exist at a variety of levels, from private homes to schools and corporations. Nursery nurse jobs in homes often resemble nanny services, with the nursery nurse looking after the children while the parents are away or doing other activities. In schools and companies, nursery nurse jobs are generally set up as childcare services for employees’ young children. Children who are not yet school aged may be dropped with the nursery nurse on staff during the workday. Community nursery nurse jobs entail similar work in a community-sponsored or community-centered child play facility.
The requirements for obtaining a nursery nurse job vary dramatically, and jobs that count as qualified nursery nurse jobs are different depending on location. To become a nursery nurse in a country where the term has a medical connotation, one must hold a nursing degree and usually also be registered or credentialed with the local nursing board. Medical nursery nurse training typically requires a college or university degree, plus additional nurse-related training, including some advanced degrees. The same is not true for a nursery nurse whose job is primarily childcare focused. A nursery nurse of this variety usually only needs to have some experience working with children, or at least the desire to work with children, in order to be qualified.
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