Dear Matzav Editor,
I am writing to you out of great concern after seeing Matzav.com‘s article yesterday, Nanny Nightmare. From the article, I am unsure if the “nurse” referenced is a “baby nurse” or in fact a registered nurse, but assuming the former, please read below.
I recently contacted the American Nurses Association, National Council for the State Board of Nursing, the New York State Board of Nursing, and Mayor De Blasio for this very concern regarding the use of term “nurse” but have yet to receive a response. I often hear friends and family discussing “baby nurses” whom they have hired to help care for newborns.
On questioning, many of these friends told me they believe “baby nurses” are in fact registered nurses. I spent some time researching what it means to be a “baby nurse” to satisfy my own curiosity. What I found was alarming, to say the least. I found numerous agency websites offering “baby nurses” who are available to help new parents care for their newborns, like the nurse mentioned in the Matzav story.
One site, New York Nanny Center, answers the question, “What is a baby nurse?” with the following: “A Baby Nurse is a non-medical professional who comes into the home when the baby comes home from the hospital. They generally assist parents with the day-to-day care of their new baby for a few weeks up to several months. They can provide overnight (10-12 hours), daytime hours, and 24-hour care. A Baby Nurse is experienced/trained and/or has a certification. Many Baby Nurses will have additional certifications like: HHAs, CNAs or LPNs. Most Baby Nurses also have their CPR certification. Every Baby Nurse is different and has a range of newborn and infant care experience. In general, she will have extensive practical experience with newborns, and current knowledge of accepted practices in newborn care, including lactation support, Infant CPR & First Aid, and knowledge of early childhood development.”
It is illegal to call oneself a “nurse” unless she or he is licensed by the New York State Education Department (or respective state licensing agency) as an RN, LPN, CNS, or NP, yet there are “baby nurses” all over New York and across the country being hired by families and entrusted with the care of their infants.
As a registered nurse, I am eager to help find a way to put an end to the illegal use of the term “nurse” and to ensure the safety of infants and new parents by allowing families to make informed decisions regarding whom they hire for their care.
Christina Christina Maroone, MSN, MPA, RN PMHNP
Student | NYU Class of 2019 Adjunct Lecturer | Hunter-Bellevue College of Nursing