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Neonatal nursing is a subspecialty of nursing care for newborn infants up to 28 days after birth. The term neonatal comes from neo, "new", and natal, "pertaining to birth or origin". Neonatal nursing requires a high degree of skill, dedication and emotional strength as the nurses care for newborn infants with a range of problems, varying between prematurity, birth defects, infection, cardiac malformations and surgical problems. Neonatal nurses are a vital part of the neonatal care team and are required to know basic newborn resuscitation, be able to control the newborn's temperature and know how to initiate cardiopulmonary and pulse oximetry monitoring. Most neonatal nurses care for infants from the time of birth until they are discharged from the hospital. Approximately 40,000 low-birth-weight infants are born annually in the United States. Because of significant medical advances and the efforts of physicians and nurses who provide for very vulnerable babies, are 10 times better now than they were 15 years ago.
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