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I am an NNP student and I am the last of my kind...

Mar 31, 2017

Recently, Joanna McLaughlin (DNP-NNP student) was selected to attend a policy summit in Washington, DC. She took this opportunity to discuss the closures of NNP programs across the country with multiple federal nurse leaders; including the Director of the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), a senior public health advisor for the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), members from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWIF) and several members from the senate.

McLaughlin’s presentation focused on the potential national effects of a NNP shortage. Highlighting the cost savings of NNPs compared to neonatologists, as well as revealing the implications of medicine replacing nursing. She also started a twitter page (@nnp_advocacy) to advocate for the NNP role.

"I am a neonatal nurse practitioner student, and I am the last of my kind." -- Joanna McLaughlin

As discussed in the January issue of NewReviews: There is a rising demand for NNPs, but NNP educational programs may not have the ability to meet this rising demand.  (Sheldon RE, Bissinger R, Kenner C, Staebler S. The Status of US Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Education in 2015-2016. NeoReviews 2017;18-e3: DOI: 10.1542/neo.18-1-e3). 

Only 33 collegiate nursing programs now prepare NNPs to provide comprehensive care to preterm and sick newborns and their families.

  • NNPs have become important and indispensable contributors to the NICU care delivered across the country.
  • Competence in the NNP role requires extensive and uniquely specialized education and NICU clinical training.
  • Acute care nurse practitioner programs (neonatal, pediatric and adult), are often smaller because of the intensive nature of the clinical requirements. The costs to run these programs are often higher per student.
  • Programs are under pressure with financial and educational factors at a time when demand for these advanced care practitioners is increasing.
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     “…the shortage of NNPs is putting Neonatal Units in the position of hiring less qualified professionals to care for these very vulnerable patients.  NNPs receive advance graduate level education to provide care and have demonstrate care equal to that of their Neonatologists colleagues.  The need to utilize other professionals who have not received this type of education is concerning.” -- Robin L. Bissinger, PhD, APRN, NNP-BC, FAAN, NCC Executive Director

    The NNP shortage has been published within the medical community and now is being recognized nationally by our country’s legislators.