The Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Group initially started in June 2000 as part of the OB initiatives in place to develop an Expanded Care Nursery. Elizabeth Lawrence, MSN, BC, NNP was the very first NNP at Womack Army Medical Center. As lead NNP, she helped hire two more NNP’s; Barbara Britton and Ginger Rhodes-Ryan to complete the NNP team. The Neonatology Team was then comprised of 2 Neonatologists, the Medical Director, James Pascale, MD and James Woods, DO and the 3 NNP’s.
On September 15, 2000 the NICU went “live” with the provision of 24/7 Neonatology service coverage and has continued to provide that service for the past 8 years. Ms. Lawrence was named Coordinator of the NNP Group in October of 2000. Since 2000 the Expanded Care Nursery has evolved from a basic Level II unit to a true Level IIIa Neonatal Intensive Care Unit capable of caring for 12 premature or sick neonates.
A Neonatal Nurse Practitioner(NNP) is a Registered Nurse that has gone further in college (usually a Master’s Degree in Nursing -MSN) and completed several hundred hours of bedside (clinical) training. Once the clinical training is completed the NNP takes a national certification exam which must be passed to obtain state licensure. This is what the initials BC stand for or “Board Certified.” Once a license is obtained then the NNP works under the supervision of a physician. The NNP must do a minimum of 100 continuing education hours every 2 years to maintain state licensure.
The NNP team attends high risk deliveries and caesarean sections. The NNP team works hand-in-hand with the Neonatologist on duty to provide quality care for our patients. A NNP is able admit neonates to the NICU, write prescriptions, put in lab or x-ray orders, interpret the labs and x-rays, order IV fluids and feedings, provide counseling to parents, provide consultations to other Pediatricians or Family Practice residents or staff and do any procedure to a baby that the Neonatologist does such as intubation, placement of central lines and lumbar punctures. We are a valuable asset to the Maternal- Child Section of WAMC.