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NANNP Corner

New Year, New Year!

Bobby Bellflower, DNSC NNP-BC
NANNP Council Chair

Please let me introduce myself. My name is Bobby Bellflower, and I am the new chair of the National Association of Neonatal Nurse Practitioners (NANNP) Council. Lizz Welch-Carre preceded me and was an excellent chair. I appreciate her hard work and her focus on ensuring that neonatal advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) have excellent representation.

Now, a little about me. I am an associate professor and the doctor of nursing practice (DNP) program director at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Our DNP program has almost 300 students in eight concentrations, and the neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP) program is my favorite! My passion for education includes teaching our students and APRNs about evidence-based practice and quality improvement. Practicing based on the best available evidence and conducting continuous quality improvement provides our babies and their families with the best possible outcomes. In my heart, I am an NNP first and foremost, and I practice in a busy unit in Memphis, TN.

It is a great honor to be the chair of the NANNP Council. We have an active agenda for the next year, but our top priority is our desire to represent you. We have many types of neonatal APRNs in NANNP, including NNPs, neonatal clinical nurse specialists (CNSs), and NNP/CNS faculty.

The NANNP Council represents all APRNs, and we want to know what you need. What would you like us to address? Are there any problems or ideas we need to discuss immediately? Please feel free to email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We are discussing some new ideas for NANNP and would love to hear your thoughts!

Our current work includes ensuring all the documents on our website are up to date, and we are collaborating with the American Academy of Pediatrics on a new document.

After 2020, we all hope for a 2021 that is safe for our families, friends, and patients! COVID-19 impacted all of us in some way. Some lost family members and friends, some suffered from COVID-19, and all lost our sense of normalcy. Families had limited visitation time with their babies, and some babies died without their family at the bedside (just as many adults died alone).

Neonatal nurses and APRNs used innovative communication techniques to keep families updated on their babies and provide as much information as possible. Although the pandemic has wreaked havoc in our lives, we have grown closer to family and friends in many ways. Vaccine administration is well underway, and by this fall, we hope to see everyone in person in Denver!

In 2020, we witnessed the impact of racism and bias in our country. NANN responded quickly with a statement re-enforcing our commitment to reducing health disparities in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), including specific steps to address bias and racism (NANN, 2020). As an organization, we addressed racism and bias in a straightforward manner.

Now it is time for each of us to address the health disparities in our workplaces. As APRNs, it is our challenge and responsibility to discuss health disparities. How many of us say, "Those disparities don't occur in my unit"? They do occur in every unit. I encourage you to use literature to start the conversation (see suggested references in the bibliography below). Krista Sigurdson conducted a qualitative study that asked families and clinicians about their NICU experiences (Sigurdson, Morton, Mitchell, & Profit, 2018). The themes and discussion will surprise you. Reflect on your practice and your interaction with families and colleagues. Change starts with individuals.

I am so excited to be the chair of NANNP, and I am eager to work with the talented members of the NANNP Council. We have a wonderful mix of NNPs on the council, including:

  • Taryn Edwards, MSN CRNP NNP-BC—our representative to the NANNP Nominations Committee and the NNP Awards Committee
  • Jacqueline Guzman, MSN RN NNP-BC (newly elected)—our representative to the NANN Research Institute Steering Committee (RISC)
  • Kristin Howard, DNP APRN NNP-BC—our representative to the NANN Education Committee
  • Julie Sundermeier, DNP APRN-NP NNP-BC—our representative to the NANN Health Policy and Advocacy Committee and NANNP Nominations Committee
  • Dedra Teel, MSN APRN NNP-BC (newly elected)—our representative to the Research Committee
  • Elizabeth Welch-Carre, EdD MS APRN NNP-BC—immediate past NANNP chair, with immense knowledge of NANNP and the NNP Workforce Survey
  • Mary Whalen, DNP APRN NNP-BC—our representative to Licensure, Accreditation, Certification, and Education (LACE)

We pledge to work hard to represent you and to create new and innovative ideas. We are excited about the year ahead!

Selected Bibliography:

  1. Martin, A. E., D'Agostino, J. A., Passarella, M., & Lorch, S. A. (2016). Racial differences in parental satisfaction with neonatal intensive care unit nursing care. Journal of Perinatology, 36, 1001-1007.
  2. Lake, E. T., Staiger, D., Edwards, E. M., Smith, J. G., & Rogowski, J. A. (2018). Nursing care disparities in neonatal intensive care units. Health Services Research, 53 Suppl 1(Suppl Suppl 1), 3007–3026.
  3. Ely, D. M. & Driscoll, A. K. (2019). Infant mortality in the United States, 2017: Data from the period linked birth/infant death file. National Vital Statistics Report, 68(10), 1-20.
  4. National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice. (2013). Achieving health equity through nursing workforce diversity. 
  5. Profit, J., Gould, J. B., Bennett, M., Goldstein, B. A., Draper, D., Phibbs, C. S., & Lee, H. (2017). Racial/Ethnic disparity in NICU quality of care delivery. Pediatrics, 140(3), e20170918.
  6. Beck, A. F., Edwards, E. M., Hobar, J. D., Howell, E. A., McCormick, M. C., & Pursley, D. M. (2019). The color of health: How racism, segregation, and inequality affect the health and well-being of preterm infants and their families. Pediatric Research, 87(2), 227-234.
  7. Sigurdson, K., Morton, C., Mitchell, B. & Profit, J. (2018). Disparities in NICU quality of care: A qualitative study of family and clinician accounts. Journal of Perinatology, 38(5), 600-607.
  8. Horbar, J. D., Edwards, E. M., Greenberg, L. T., Profit, J., Draper, D., Helkey, D., Lorch, S. A., Lee, H. C., Phibbs, C. S., Rogowski, J., Gould, J. B., & Firebaugh, G. (2019). Racial Segregation and Inequality in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for Very Low-Birth-Weight and Very Preterm Infants. JAMA pediatrics, 173(5), 455–461. 


  1. National Association of Neonatal Nurses. (2020). Racial Disparity in the NICU, Position Statement, 3070.
  2. Sigurdson, K., Morton, C., Mitchell, B. & Profit, J. (2018). Disparities in NICU quality of care: A qualitative study of family and clinician accounts. Journal of Perinatology, 38(5), 600-607. 

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