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NRP certification is the process through which participants of Neonatal Resuscitation Program are issued with course completion cards which confirm their status as either NRP providers or NRP instructors. The Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) is an educational program that is designed for all healthcare professionals that are involved in delivery and care of newborns. It was first started by the American Hearts Association in 1987 with the aim of equipping hospital staff such as nurses, paramedics, and physicians with the skills of how to resuscitate infants at the time of delivery and also immediately afterward. It enables the healthcare professionals to help the new-born baby begin breathing. Instructors take the same exam as the providers, but they have to undergo further training on instructional methods, interpersonal skills, communication, and teamwork that will make them effective trainers. NRP certification is of great value because it empowers medical personnel to take immediate and effective action in case of a neonatal emergency. They will increase newborn’s chances of survival, especially in life-threatening situations.


NRP Certification Requirements


Applicants for this program are expected to complete an online examination and then attend a skills demonstration back course that takes 3 hours on average. The skills demonstration course must be taken within 30 days after the completion of the online exam for it to be valid. The participants must bring their exam completion form to be accepted into the demonstration course. During the session, the learners are taken through a quick review of what they have learned in the text, and the content tested in the exam. To make the session more interesting, the participants are encouraged to be interactive when discussing and demonstrating concepts such as airway management and CPR among others. The session also involves simulations and debriefing in addition to the in-person skills training. For those wishing to join the program as instructors/trainers, they must have delivery room experience to be considered eligible. Apart from training, they are also prepared for future administrative roles.

NRP Certification Online


The online package has been designed to suit the learner’s own pace and time and it becomes a preferred choice for many students because of the flexibility and convenience that it provides. Most online NRP programs allow the learners to take the online exam without having to worry about the time limit. The system saves their progress when they log out, and they can always continue afterward. The online program also offers a chance for the retake of the exams, but a new set of question is given at each trial to ensure that students have a good grasp of the subject matter. Students study independently for the exam and do not need to attend any lectures for this since the program is majorly self-directed. It is important to note that taking the online exam alone does not qualify one for NRP certification.

Objectives of NRP Certification


Upon completion of the training period, there are certain things that participants are required to do. These are well stipulated in the course outline and lesson models. They include:

  1. Identify risk factors that indicate an infant is in need of resuscitation.
  2. Demonstrate the capability to use the various equipment needed during resuscitation.
  3. Have an in-depth knowledge of the medication commonly used in neonatal resuscitation, giving the correct dose and indications for each medication if applicable.
  4. Identify the special considerations that necessitate subsequent management of an infant past the immediate newborn period.
  5. Identify risk factors for infants that are born prematurely and the strategies that one needs to consider while giving them care.
  6. Be in a position to perform chest completions and tracheal intubation so as to keep the airway open.
  7. Be familiar with the ethical and professional principles associated with an end of life situations in cases where all interventions fail.

NRP Certification Course Materials


In the past, participants of NRP certification have been using the Textbook of Neonatal Resuscitation, 6th Edition that outlines all the lessons required to be covered by the course. This book is usually purchased from the American Academy of Pediatrics bookstore online and comes with an accompanying instructor DVD-ROM that learners can view. The text is considered as containing the basic components of the program. Other useful resources include reference charts, simulation poster, study guides, and other publications. However, the 6th edition resources are almost becoming outdated and are slowly becoming replaced with 7th edition textbooks and other course materials. Course materials are regularly updated to incorporate new discoveries and skills, and to accommodate the changing practices in the field.

Overall Course Completion

For a course participant to be awarded the NRP certification, they must:

  • Avail the verification of completion of the online exam.
  • Demonstrate the required skills for neonatal resuscitation covered in the nine lessons that the course outlines.
  • Demonstrate in the correct sequence the NRP resuscitation free diagram.

The blended learning format (online and hands-on) is beneficial for those healthcare professionals who learn best in a combination of tutorials and live skills training. Those who pass the course successfully and meet all the requirements are issued with an NRP course completion card that grants them the provider status, valid for two years. Usually, there are provisions for the renewal of the certification after the expiry of the two-year period. Those interested in renewing their status are required to attend a provider course within 24 months of the previous certification.

Benefits of Obtaining NRP Certification


  • It improves healthcare provision by ensuring proper initial management of infants thus increasing their chances of survival.
  • It provides an additional source of income because one can establish a part-time job of being an NRP instructor with various organizations.
  • It enables one to gain credits for continuing education depending on the number of lessons completed for the course.
  • It gives hospital staff more credibility especially those whose areas of specialization center on taking care of infants.
  • It enables healthcare professionals to access a greater scope of practice because they can be accepted in more institutions that have NRP as one of their requirements to work there. They can be counted on for high-stress responsibilities regarding infant care.

NRP and American Hearts Association


Although the program has been providing training and education for many years now, it was the lesson guides and modules were adjusted in 2010 to be in accordance with the American Hearts Association (AHA) guidelines for neonatal resuscitation. AHA act as sponsors of the program and play a big role in developing the core curriculum that is followed. Since the aim of the association is to make people’s lives healthier and safe from cardiovascular diseases, they strive to reach as many professionals as possible and partner with them to achieve that goal. AHA, in association with The America Academy of Pediatrics, give authority to certain entities to carry out NRP and to issue successful participants with course completion cards. As part of their regulatory roles, they also warn against entities that offer NRP verification through online courses. They keep evaluating the program and restructuring the way training is conducted, and this enhances the learning experience for participants.

FAQ for NRP Certification


Q: Is it possible to complete the required NRP online exam after taking the skills training class?

A: No, the online exam is a pre-requisite for being accepted into the class. You must study the course materials and be part of a live NRP course for simulations, debriefing, and skills training.

Q: Can I retake a single module if I fail the test?

A: The pass mark for each test is 80%. In the case of a failing score, a module may be repeated only once. A subsequent failing score will require that you restart the certification process and pay any required fee.

Q: How do I provide proof that I have passed the online exam?

A: after successful completion of the online exam, you will receive a verification note and a continuing medical education (CME) certificate. Print that and bring it to the scheduled course.

Q: Will I pay any extra fees for the skills demonstration sectionof thecourse?

A: The providers of NRP do not charge any fees for conducting the skills course conducting courses or providing cards upon completion. However, the training institution may charge a certain fee to cover the costs of space, equipment, and instructor time.

Q: Does NRP course qualify a learner as proficient enough to perform neonatal resuscitation?

A: The program equips participants with the necessary skills for the procedure. A person’s competence to perform neonatal resuscitation has to be tested by the hospital before one is allowed to assume clinical responsibilities.

Q: How long does it take to get my NRP instructor or provider card?

A: Your card is available after you pass your certification exam. If you go for skills evaluation, your card is typically mailed within three business days of when the training institution receives your digital card.


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