The National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN) is an organization which is responsible for expanding and improving the roles and responsibilities of neonatal nurses who work in a variety of healthcare environments in treating infants with a variety of health conditions which require urgent care and treatment (2017). This organization supports nursing professional development and continuing education to ensure that all nurses can perform at the highest possible levels and have the knowledge and experience required to improve patient outcomes (NANN, 2017). NANN supports a critical mission and core values which are designed to promote ethical principles and actions, continuous learning, collaborative efforts among colleagues, trust and understanding of honesty and transparency in the workplace, and greater advocacy for the target patient population to improve quality of care (NANN, 2017). The organization continues to explore new alternatives to improve its position and to strengthen the work of neonatal nurses across all healthcare organizations to ensure that patient care is optimized and quality of life is optimized for all patients as best as possible.
In response to the challenges of expanding neonatal care and treatment, nurses within this profession have expanded their knowledge base and supported new directives to improve performance to improve patient care quality (NANN, 2013). Furthermore, in response to the report known as “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,” there has been a greater emphasis on expanding the role of neonatal nurse practitioners (NNPs) in advancing nursing within this specialty area (NANN, 2013). It is also evident that there are significant opportunities to engage in the development of nurses and to improve staffing for different specialty units through greater cohesion in staffing and stronger opportunities for professional growth (NANN, 2013). Specifically, staffing is a critical issue which requires ongoing attention, focus, and resources to ensure that nurses have the tools and resources that are required to meet expectations within this field and can administer excellent care and treatment to all patients on a continuous basis, using benchmarks and other tools as a guide (NANN, 2013). These practices are critical in addressing some of the most critical areas of development which impact patient care and treatment for patients within neonatal units and how to improve outcomes so that nurses can become experts and leaders within this field and improve quality of care so that patients can fully recover and thrive despite their condition (NANN, 2013).
Neonatal nurses must have adequate support at the practice level to ensure that their roles and responsibilities to patients are met and can advance their education and training to meet the needs of this specialty population (National Academy of Sciences, 2010). In this capacity, neonatal nurses are part of a larger framework which must be collaborative in nature and supports their continuous growth and development, allowing them to serve as partners with other members of the healthcare system to facilitate successful performance outcomes and improved quality of care (National Academy of Sciences, 2010). Nurses must serve as visionaries in this capacity and strengthen patient care and treatment for neonates by supporting advanced practice solutions to solve common problems and to demonstrate the importance of expanding resources to provide multidisciplinary care for all patients (National Academy of Sciences, 2010).
One of the most critical areas of development is the creation of the role of advanced practice registered nurse to administer expanded care for neonates who face critical physical and developmental challenges at birth (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2009). For these nurses, a graduate-level education and degree are required and for the neonatal nurse practitioner, an additional 200 didactic hours and 600 hours with neonates which are supervised directly by other nurses (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2009). In this context, there must be a greater emphasis on graduate educational programs and earning a graduate degree to successfully practice within this role and have a positive impact on patients who require critical care and treatment (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2009). This reflects the importance of neonatal nurses and their contributions to patient care, along with the primary goals and objectives of the practice setting which impact this patient population (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2009). All organizations must develop their own practice standards and guidelines for these roles which adhere to the framework established by NANN so that all patients have equitable and high-quality care and treatment in a timely manner (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2009). This reflects the importance of advancing the objectives of the nursing profession and in recognizing the value of neonatal nurses in supporting patient care outcomes which improve quality of life and overall wellbeing (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2009).
The National Association of Neonatal Nurses is a unique organization which provides support, leadership, and guidance to specialty nurses within this area and strives for continuous improvement within this specialty area. This reflects the importance of advancing specific goals and objectives related to continuing education, empowerment, and skill development to provide all patients with the best possible tools and resources to achieve greater quality of life. Neonatal nurses must engage in activities to continuously improve in their roles and provide their patients with expert knowledge and resources to support and advance the profession. Furthermore, neonatal nurses must demonstrate their understanding of the specific needs of this patient population to treat patients who have critical health issues in an effective manner that will have a positive and lasting impact on their recovery and progress.