Neonatal Social Worker

Assist and support parents who are caring for sick newborns.
picture of Neonatal Social Worker

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$29,000 – $72,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Neonatal Social Workers do?

After waiting nine months, it’s time for the parents to meet their baby. Unfortunately, the tiny baby has a heath problem and must stay in the hospital.

After so many months of anticipation, it’s incredibly difficult for these parents to accept the news. They may feel angry, guilty, sad, or isolated. A Neonatal Social Worker can provide support, guidance, and comfort to these parents during this difficult time.

When you’re a Neonatal Social Worker, you meet with the baby’s Doctor and Nurse before meeting with the parents to determine what treatments the baby will require. This lets you learn what challenges the parents are facing. In your first meeting with them, you determine their emotional health and answer all questions they may have about the hospital. Stiff, formal parents may appreciate a professional tone during this talk, while soft, emotional ones may appreciate hugs.

During the baby’s stay, you spend time as a Neonatal Social Worker, with the family and provide emotional support. Sometimes, you encourage the parents to leave the room to sleep. Other times, you ask them to walk around with you. You may also bring tasty treats to encourage them to eat.

Some babies don’t survive their time in the hospital, and in such cases, the Neonatal Social Worker does everything to help the parents prepare for the death. You let them talk about their feelings, and you help them form questions to ask the Doctor. You also suggest that they attend grief-counseling sessions for more help.

Other babies may need a significant amount of help when they head home. In fact, even healthy babies can be very needy. Before the parents leave, you provide them with handouts describing parenting classes and support groups.

Should I be a Neonatal Social Worker?

You should have a master's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Flexible: You're open to change and think variety is the spice of life.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.

  • Also known as: Hospital Social Worker, National Secretary, National Service Officer, Nursing Home Social Worker See More

    How to become a Neonatal Social Worker

    Most Neonatal Social Workers have a Master's degree. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aaai9c&chl=|||bachelor%27s+%2811%25%29|master%27s+%2885%25%29|doctorate+%284%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,85
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