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Association News

Brighter Tomorrows Story Contest

Congratulations, Malissa McGillivray!

The Brighter Tomorrows Story Contest seeks to highlight tales from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), a place where it seems like anything can happen. The stories shared through this contest touch our hearts and highlight the nuances of neonatal nursing.

Read the 2016 winner of the Brighter Tomorrows Story Contest, Carrying a Life and Saving a Life; Our job Is Everything, by Malissa McGillivray and be sure to check out all the story contest entries.

2016 Elections—Make Your Voice Count Today!

The annual elections to fill available positions on NANN’s Board of Directors and the NANNP Council are now open.

NANN will elect one Secretary-Treasurer, two Directors-at-Large, and one Staff Nurse Director-at-Large; NANNP will elect four (4) Council Members.

The core purpose of both NANN and NANNP is to support the professional needs of neonatal nurses throughout their careers. Electing the best leaders for the association allows us to fulfill that purpose. Please do your part by casting your votes—your voice is important!

Visit the NANN Candidate Corner and the NANNP Candidate Corner to learn about the candidates, then cast your vote.

Enter Your Photo in the Faces of Neonatal Nursing Photo Contest

Be a part of the 2016 NANN Annual Educational Conference by submitting a photo for the Faces of Neonatal Nursing Photo Contest! Neonatal nursing has many faces—from dedicated nursing professionals to the faces of growing and prospering neonates and their families—and NANN wants to share them with the world.

Photo submissions and narratives will be displayed at the NANN 32nd Annual Educational Conference taking place October 26-29 in Palm Springs, CA. An online vote held simultaneously will determine the winning photo. The submitter of the winning entry will receive a complimentary registration to NANN’s 2017 Annual Educational Conference, and the photo will be considered for use on the cover of an issue of Advances in Neonatal Care.

All photos must be submitted in high-resolution electronic format, preferably 300 DPI, to cbunschoten@nann.org by August 1, 2016. Please click here for more information on how to enter the 2016 Faces of Neonatal Nursing Photo Contest.

Recent Publications

NICU Nurse Involvement in Ethical Decisions (Treatment of Critically Ill Newborns)

NANN recently published a revised version of the position statement NICU Nurse Involvement in Ethical Decisions. Thank you to Margaret Conway-Orgel, DNP NNP-BC, for updating and streamlining this statement.

Call for Abstracts for the 2017 Annual Educational Conference

The NANN Conference Program Planning Committee invites you to submit an abstract to present at the 33rd Annual Educational Conference. Submit your abstract today! The submission deadline is Tuesday, November 1 at 5 pm (CT). Learn more here.

Association in Action

Nurse in Washington Internship

Barbara Smith and Roxanne Stahl were NANN’s 2016 scholarship attendees at the Nurse in Washington Internship (NIWI) in Washington, DC, in March. Read about their experiences below.

Barbara A. Smith, BSN RNC-NIC
As a neonatal nurse with 38 years of experience, I am ashamed to say that I have little to no knowledge on the legislative aspect of nursing. I am a driven nurse and have been actively involved in NANN and my local chapter (the Iowa Association of Neonatal Nurses) for many years. I have served as president, vice president, and secretary for my local chapter over the years. I currently hold the position of secretary. In addition, I coauthored the NANN position statement on nursing fatigue, and I attend the NANN conference every year.

That said, I have never been involved in legislation. I heard about NIWI and decided that this would be an exceptional learning opportunity. I applied for the scholarship, noting my lack of knowledge in this arena but also sharing my eagerness to learn. I am a nurse who likes to keep learning and advancing my knowledge.

I was pleasantly surprised when I received notice that I had won the all-expenses-paid scholarship, but immediately panicked because of how “green” I was. I diligently read all the information that was sent to me, but I still felt unprepared. I sought out our state advocate for our health system and was provided with more documents to read.

The day had come. Did I know what to do? No! The Conference Planning Committee did a fantastic job preparing us to visit our House and Senate representatives. Not only was this conference educational, it was entertaining. Each speaker provided a unique perspective on legislation. My biggest fear was not having conversations with the respective representatives, it was getting to Capitol Hill. But I was blessed to have another participant in the conference from my home state of Iowa to help. We teamed up and did a few dry runs to the Capitol using the subway. This was a new experience for me because there are no subways in Iowa. For all future participants at NIWI, we determined that there are two options to reach Capitol Hill. One route appears shorter, but you must change trains. The other is a longer route, but you stay put until you reach your destination. We took both routes and realized they were almost identical in time. Not needing to change trains is a huge relief for those unfamiliar with the subway system.

We prepared for Capitol Hill by writing out our script; we still had some continued apprehension. Neither of us had ever been to the Hill before. During lecture time, the speakers tried to eliminate these fears, but some still lingered. I am here to tell you, have no fear! When you talk to a staffer (someone you meet with rather than the actual representatives) it is like sitting down with a friend and having a conversation. Our speakers informed us that if we were allotted 10 minutes with the staffer, then it is a win. Well, we won big! We actually spent anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes with each staffer!

When you are with the staffer, communication is easy. Most of them have very limited knowledge in the medical field, so this is where you get to shine! Show them what you know and help them to understand your positions. They appreciate our wealth of knowledge. As nurses, we have so much to offer; don’t be afraid!

After our first session, we were stoked! We told ourselves, we got this, and we did. Each meeting was a success and we felt proud of our accomplishments and that we really could make a difference. It was a long but inspiring day. The knowledge I gained was beyond belief and the take-home was tremendous! What an exciting opportunity. I stepped out of my comfort zone and experienced so much.

First and foremost, I learned that visiting your congressman or representative is easy. Just tell them what you know. I was able to advocate for our profession as nurses with the “asks” provided by the conference planning committee. In addition, I was able to bring up the Life Saving Therapies for Neonates Act at each meeting. It felt good to advocate for our tiny patients, stressing the fact that they are not just small adults. Neonatal therapies are greatly needed with research done in our specific age arena.

I would recommend this program to any legislative novice nurse in addition to anyone who has experience. The goal is to act and be an advocate for our patients. That is what nursing is all about. The learning opportunities are immense and the personal gratification is beyond words. I sincerely thank NANN for giving me this remarkable opportunity!

Roxanne Stahl, MSN APRN NNP-BC
During the first week of March, I was privileged to receive a NIWI sponsored by NANN and The Nursing Organizations Alliance. I hadn’t been to Washington, DC in years and was looking forward to visiting iconic museums and memorials in addition to learning how to be a politically active nurse. My husband, Daniel, accompanied me for a few days prior to the conference. We were fortunate to attend a Senate meeting and listened to senators discussing issues such as voting for the next Supreme Court justice by urging Republicans to “do your job and vote.” Opioid dependency also was a big topic of debate including how to allocate funding to address the problem. To close the day, Sen. Mitch McConnell and Sen. Harry Reid walked in; it was thrilling to see such high-profile senators in person.

Seventy five nurses from across the United States attended the NIWI conference. Many were advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) consisting of nurse practitioners (NPs), certified registered nurse anesthetists, and clinical nurse specialists. We heard from professional nurse advocates about protecting and advancing nursing practice in the climate of healthcare change, congressional staff on how to lobby effectively, and Gale Adock, who was our featured nurse speaker. Representative Adcock of North Carolina is the first NP in the House of Representatives.

A recent Gallup poll lists nursing as the most trusted profession in the country, beating both clergy and firemen. People look to nurses for honest answers and as a resource for issues affecting public health. Citizens deserve excellent health care and nurses and NPs have proven they give quality, affordable care and ready access to health care. More than 60% of patients now see a nurse practitioner when seeking medical care (Consumer Reports, 2013). Nurses tend to be open-minded, nonjudgmental, skilled negotiators, and thoughtful decision makers in caring for our patients. This translates well into policy making. No other profession has patient care at their heart the way nursing does. Nurses care about outcomes (patient outcomes) not incomes (our pocket book). We advocate for people—patients and their families.

I went to Capitol Hill to talk about my patient population as a neonatal NP—sick babies and their families. My first responsibility is to resuscitate the baby at delivery, then assess and establish the plan of care for that baby based on his/her needs. Days can turn into weeks in the NICU. Every baby has a family and a home to go to. Nurses must help the family, often extended with stepparents, grandparents, siblings, and multiple “friends of family.” We assess family dynamics like who will be caring for the baby and what the family’s needs are regarding housing, mental health, drug addiction, and resources.

With all this in mind, our delegation visited our representatives on the Hill. I had two colleagues attending NIWI with me from Kentucky, Leslee Bertram, NP in pediatric hematology/oncology at UK Lexington, and Jodi Behr, CNS in the NICU at Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville. We visited the offices of Rep. Ed Whitfield, Sen. Rand Paul, and Sen. Mitch McConnell. Since I practice in Tennessee, I also went to Rep. Jim Cooper’s office. We described our roles as neonatal and pediatric APRNs and asked for support of three “asks.”

First ask: Continued funding for Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Programs. This money would help fund APRN and RN education. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014) projects that employment of APRNs is expected to grow 31% from 2012 to 2022. As baby-boomers age, nurses and APRNs will be needed to care for the increased number of patients seeking medical care. There is a need for cost effective, highly trained nurses in underserved, rural areas.

Second ask: Continued funding of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), specifically nursing research to establish scientific basics for patient health. This would target expansion of the nurse scientist community and allow more complex studies focused on health promotion and disease prevention.

Third ask: Veterans Health Care Staffing Improvement Act granting APRNs serving in the VA full practice authority. In other words, let APRNs do their job without burdensome restrictions regulated by every state. The American Association of Nurse Practitioners website statesFull Practice: State practice and licensure law provides for all nurse practitioners to evaluate patients; diagnose, order, and interpret diagnostic tests; and initiate and manage treatments—including prescribe medications—under the exclusive licensure authority of the state board of nursing. This is the model recommended by the Institute of Medicine and National Council of State Boards of Nursing.”

We were extremely well received and staffers spent time asking us how we perceived many topics of health care. They asked us to describe what we see every day in the problem of opioid dependency. Jodi and I described NICUs full of babies withdrawing from maternal drug addiction; these babies scream incessantly, vomit, and have liquid diarrhea, and are so frantic they scratch their faces with their hands to the point of bleeding. Nurses are there to see them through withdrawal and care for their moms and families. Leslee talked about her patients, who are children with cancer; how she found a mom passed out in her child’s hospital room, face down on the floor, with a needle of heroin still in her arm; and how parents steal and use their own child’s pain medicine for their addiction. These are compelling stories and they are heard by politicians from people like us, ordinary nurses and citizens, who take time to share. We are proud to tell our story and influence decisions in this country. I urge all of you to go to Washington, DC, and tell your story! Take it to the Hill!

NICU Leadership Forum

This year, NANN provided four registration scholarships for nurse managers to attend the NICU Leadership Forum held in New Orleans in late April. One of our attendees, Gray Hattrup, captured her experience:

“I really enjoyed the NICU Leadership Forum. The conference was very much focused on the practical aspects of bringing evidence-based practice to the bedside in a way that works in your setting. It was great to hear from working NICU leadership on how they implemented practice changes on their unit. It was particularly helpful that they explained the whole process, including challenges, rather than just focusing on results. More time was spent on 'soft issues' like staff buy in and unit culture rather than just the numbers, as is often the case in more research-oriented presentations. This approach made it easier for me to see how we might be able to take bits and pieces of how various units made changes and apply them to our local situation. Overall, it was a well-run conference with relevant material and ample opportunities for socializing and networking. Thank you very much for providing the opportunity for me to attend this conference with a NANN scholarship.”

White House Meeting on Climate Change

On Wednesday, May 25, Joyce Stein, BSN RN and a member of NANN’s Health Policy & Advocacy Committee, represented NANN at a White House meeting to discuss nursing’s role in addressing the health impacts of climate change. As part of Extreme Heat Week, the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments organized this event with representatives from leading national nurses’ organizations (see below) to discuss the critical importance of fighting climate change to protect public health.

Nurses are on the front lines caring for America’s health. In light of the current and predicted health threats from climate change, this historic event focused on how nursing organizations can address this public health threat through educating their members, leading research, incorporating climate change into their nursing practice, and participating at the local, state, and federal levels on climate policies like the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, which set the first national limits on carbon pollution from power plants.

Pregnant women and infants are two of the most vulnerable populations at risk as a result of the health impacts of climate change. NANN looks forward to networking with fellow nursing organizations present at this event on next steps for continuing the dialogue on a nursing agenda to address climate change.
Organizations represented at this meeting:

Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments
Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses
American Public Health Associate Public Health Nursing Section
National Nurses United
National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
American Association of Nurse Practitioners
American College of Nurse Midwives
National League for Nursing
American Association of Colleges of Nursing
Association of perioperative Registered Nurses
American Association of Occupational Health Nurses
SEIU Nurse Alliance
National Association of Hispanic Nurses
National Association of Neonatal Nurses
Quad Council Coalition of Public Health Nursing Organizations
American Academy of Nursing
National Student Nurses’ Association
National Association of School Nurses

References

The nurse practitioner will see you now. (2013, August). Consumer Reports. Retrieved from http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2013/08/the-nurse-practitioner-will-see-you-now/index.htm

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