A neonatologist is a highly specialized pediatrician who specifically treats newborns. They generally work in a neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU, in addition to newborn wings of hospitals. Their patients are primarily babies who have severe problems, including premature births, inborn diseases, genetic diseases, or malformations, as well as infants of difficult births. They are almost always present in delivery rooms to evaluate newborns and decide if they should go to the NICU or the nursery.
This position requires a great deal of education, and aspiring neonatologists should graduate from an accredited medical school - either allopathic or osteopathic - followed by an accredited pediatric residency program, board certification in pediatrics, and completion of a neonatology fellowship at an accredited program with board eligibility/certification. Neonatologists almost always work on large treatment teams, which include the obstetrician, nurses, techs, and other neonatologists. Those in training hospitals may work with and/or instruct medical students and residents. The hours of the job are long and can vary; some may work overnight shifts and weekends in addition to normal weekly hours. Some may also be expected to be on-call to go to the hospital when needed.
Provide diagnosis and treatment to premature newborns and those suffering from defects, injury, and illness at birth.
Supervise residents and students.
Help deliver babies requiring special assistance.
Ensure nutrition and medication intake and dosage.