Children’s Hospital Colorado’s Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Fellowship Program Receives ANCC Accreditation

Children’s Hospital Colorado’s Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Fellowship Program Receives ANCC Accreditation

Children’s Hospital Colorado recently received Accreditation with Distinction from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) for its Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) Fellowship Program, becoming the first ANCC Accredited NNP program in the country.

The ANCC Practice Transition Accreditation program is dedicated to validating hospital residency and fellowship programs that help transition registered nurses (RNs) and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) into new practice settings that meet rigorous, evidence-based standards for quality and excellence. APRNs in the NNP Fellowship program at Children’s Hospital Colorado are part of an elite program that promotes the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and professional behaviors necessary to deliver the safest and highest-quality care.

Pat Givens, Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Executive for Children’s Colorado, tells, “We are extremely proud that Children’s Hospital Colorado’s Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Fellowship is recognized by ANCC as one of the highest-quality transition programs in the country for NNPs. The accreditation provides the patients and families we serve across the state and region with the reassurance that our neonatal nurse practitioners are some of the most highly trained in the country.”

Children’s Hospital Colorado is one of the nation’s leading and most expansive pediatric healthcare systems with a mission to improve the health of children through patient care, education, research, and advocacy. To learn more about Children’s Hospital Colorado’s recent accreditation approval for its Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Fellowship program, visit here.

Loma Linda University School of Nursing Receives $2.6M Grant to Grow Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Program

Loma Linda University School of Nursing Receives $2.6M Grant to Grow Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Program

The Loma Linda University School of Nursing has been awarded a four-year, $2.6 million grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help grow the number of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) in Southern California.

The grant is funded by the HHS’s Advanced Education Nursing Grant Program and will provide funding toward tuition assistance for qualifying students and enhanced training. The school recently received confirmation of the funding for year one of the 4-year grant.

Gloria Mattson Huerta, DNP, Nurse Practitioner program coordinator and assistant professor in the Loma Linda University School of Nursing, tells, “This grant will allow us to update and enhance the training provided to students. This will include the development of standardized patient scenarios focusing on behavioral health issues, as well as managing the opioid crisis — both of which are significant issues in the Inland Empire as well as nationally.”

Pete Aguilar, representative for California’s 31st US Congressional District, has promoted adding HHS funding to provide high-quality affordable healthcare in the state’s medically-underserved communities. He believes that increasing the number of highly-qualified nurses in the region can help ensure better health outcomes for our communities. He tells, “I’m proud to announce this funding, and I look forward to a continued partnership with Loma Linda University in order to increase access to quality health care throughout San Bernardino County.”

To learn more about the four-year, $2.6 million grant awarded to the Loma Linda University School of Nursing to help grow the number of advanced practice registered nurses in Southern California, visit here.

Working as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner

Working as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner

When Angela Ferrari-Walczak, WHNP-BC, was an undergraduate, she thought that she wanted to become an OBGYN. As time passed, though, she realized that her passion was nursing. “I knew that eventually I would go for my nurse practitioner degree,” she says.

But after graduation, while she wanted to work on an OB floor, there were no positions open. So she worked in neurology. Throughout the years, she retained that interest in women’s health, and after a finding a program she liked, she pursued her nurse practitioner degree in women’s health.

Today, Ferrari-Walczak works as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) at The Institute for Gynecology Care at Mercy in Maryland. She describes a typical day at her job:

“As a WHNP, our typical day is close to a typical day as an OBGYN in the office. We can see patients for their well-woman visits, diagnose and treat issues related to the female population, perform minor procedures, provide education and counseling, answer phone calls and messages, manage diagnostic tests, and overall be the resource to the patients within the practice. I only do GYN; however, I have also trained in OB, so other WHNPs can monitor women throughout their pregnancies as well.”

According to Ferrari-Walczak, one of the biggest challenges for WHNPs is that most people don’t know that they exist. “There are not a lot of us out there, but in school, we live and breathe all there is to know about women’s health. So we are great resources to patients and the community,” she says.

For nurses looking to become WHNPs, Ferrari-Walczak says that one problem is that there aren’t a lot of programs for it. While she was working at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Ferrari-Walczak says that she was initially looking for into a Master’s program. After taking some classes, she realized how much she enjoyed them and discovered that women’s health was the program she wanted to pursue.

In a little over three years, Ferrari-Walczak earned her WHNP through a program at Drexel University. Back then, she was working full-time as a staff nurse on a neurology floor, and she was able to work the program around her schedule. “The first two years were general education classes, and I was able to listen to lectures on my own time,” she says. “Once I got into the core classes during the last year and did my clinicals, it was a bit difficult managing time. But I got through it. The year went so fast, though. It has paid off in the end.”

Ferrari-Walczak stresses that if you’re interested in pursuing a career in women’s health and are thinking of going back to school, be sure to check with your employer to see if they will offer tuition reimbursement. Drexel offered her a discount since she worked at Hopkins, and Hopkins helped her to pay for it. “It definitely helped me to achieve my dreams,” she says.

“You need a passion for it. If you have found your passion in women’s health, then this is the perfect position for you. Being a WHNP is good for those nurses who also do not wish to pursue a midwife career,” says Ferrari-Walczak.

“The greatest rewards are hearing praises from patients about myself, the physicians that I work for, the office, and the office staff — especially from those women who haven’t found a GYN they liked until they see me,” says Ferrari-Walczak. “The surgeons I work for specialize in endometriosis, and it is amazing to see women come in who have had chronic pain for years and then they get brought to us, get properly diagnosed and treated, and then they are finally pain free.”

To learn more about becoming a WHNP, visit here.

Johns Hopkins Offers New Advanced Practice Nurse Anesthetist Program

Johns Hopkins Offers New Advanced Practice Nurse Anesthetist Program

The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing (JHSON) recently announced a new study track for students who want to train in nurse anesthesiology, which is currently one of the most lucrative roles in the field. A new program will launch in May 2020 as part of the advanced practice track of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program. 

Students who completed the 36-month course will earn a doctorate degree and be eligible to apply for certification as a register nurse anesthetist, also known as a CRNA. According to, CRNA has been ranked among the top 10 “best jobs” by the U.S. News & World Report since 2016. 

Nurse anesthetists have the highest overall earning potential among advanced practice nurses. JHSON’s new program is pending approval by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs. Applications are expected to open in August 2019 and registered nurses who hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing or an entry-level nursing master’s degree with one year of critical care experience will be eligible to apply. 

Nursing students on the anesthesiology track will learn how to administer anesthesia and anesthesia-related services independently and as part of a team. they will train in real-world and simulated settings with peers fro the Hopkins School of Medicine. Through a partnership with the Hopkins department of anesthesiology and critical care medicine, nursing school students will be able to work with experienced anesthetists and anesthesiologists with multidisciplinary expertise. Students will administer over 600 anesthetics in a variety of settings and participate in more than 2,000 clinical hours in preparation for entering the CRNA workforce. 

To learn more about the new advanced practice nurse anesthetist program being offered by the John’s Hopkins School of Nursing’s DNP program, visit here

Working as a Family Nurse Practitioner

Working as a Family Nurse Practitioner

We’ve been profiling various nursing specialties so that you can get more information about what the job entails and what education you would need if you’d like to consider that specialty. Next up—Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP).

According to Miranda “Mandy” Wiggins, CRNP, an FNP with Main Street Family Care in Alabama, FNPs are responsible for patients from birth to geriatrics as well as all aspects of that care. They provide comprehensive treatment and see patients for yearly wellness visits, write prescriptions for them, order any necessary testing, and follow up to review results of testing.

In addition, Wiggins says, “We are there for them for acute illness and management of chronic medical issues.”

She admits that one of the biggest challenges in being an FNP is educating patients. Often, patients don’t understand that FNPs can provide many more services than an RN. They think that nurses and FNPs are the same position.

But there are so many more rewards to this job. “I chose to be a family practitioner so that I could impact as many demographics as possible in my practice. I enjoy providing care to patients of all ages and presentations,” says Wiggins. “I enjoy the interaction with the patients and the involvement of family members to ensure they are being given the best care in and out of the office. They will remember that you took time to give them resources and helped plan for their future needs.”

“The greatest reward is most definitely the continuity of care we are able to provide from our listening and diagnostic skills to providing follow-up care and establishing a trusting relationship with those patients. It’s very rewarding to see them improve in their plan of care and to be able to care for them over a period of years,” she says.

If you’re thinking of becoming an FNP, Wiggins says that the NP program usually takes two years to complete after earning a bachelor’s degree—if the student attends full-time. This timeframe includes a residency program and leadership/professional practice courses. Certification is also a must.

“If you love your patients and have a desire to serve, go for it!” says Wiggins.

A Day in the Life of a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

A Day in the Life of a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

A Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist’s (CRNA) day begins with an inspection of the OR he or she is assigned to, with priority over the OR table and anesthesia equipment. Immediately before seeing the patient, a CRNA reviews the patient’s chart for any red flags, including information the patient may not willingly divulge. Examples of red flags include: a previous surgery, current medications (particularly cardiac medication and narcotics), and BMI. All of these factors can significantly impact how the patient will respond to anesthesia and surgery.

When meeting the patient, both a conversation and a physical exam ensue, as this is the final opportunity to determine what the CRNA can reasonably expect hemodynamically from the patient during the case.  While inspecting the patient’s anatomy, a CRNA may ask how many stairs they can climb before getting winded, or how many pillows they use to sleep comfortably at night. All of this information combined will inform the American Society of Anesthesiology (ASA) score assigned the patient, which is a scale from one to five, one being a healthy patient and five being a moribund patient.  This will be announced during the surgical time out.

In New York and Pennsylvania, CRNAs do not have APN status. In New York, this means that CRNAs work under the supervision of an anesthesiologist or the operating physician. This anesthesiologist is expected to be present for induction, intubation, emergence, and extubation, as well as frequent check-ins throughout the case. By contrast, CRNAs in Pennsylvania work in cooperation with a surgeon or dentist and the CRNA’s performance shall be under the overall direction of the chief or director of anesthesia services.

In all other states where CRNAs do have APN status, they perform collaborative care, which involves much less oversight. Nurse anesthetists practice under supervision of the surgeon with no physician anesthesiologist requirement in 49 states and completely independent of a physician in 17 states.

What every CRNA must carry over from days as a critical care nurse is nursing intuition, strong assessment skills, and a sense of resilience. It is not a position for shrinking violets; your voice as the patient’s advocate is more important than ever. A patient may be deemed unfit for general anesthesia based on assessment. The CRNA who cancels a surgery will find it is almost never received well by the patient, nor the surgical team or the nursing team who prepared for surgery. A significant portion of any CRNA’s day may be making decisions on the patient’s behalf that are unpopular.

On any given day, depending on what type of surgeries are being done in a given OR, a CRNA may see one patient or twelve during a twelve-hour shift.  While doing a series of quick hysteroscopies on young women may mean your patients are healthier, the challenge is to keep pace and to do so without sacrificing thoroughness. Having every patient’s life essentially in your hands is nothing to take lightly, no matter how clean their health record may be. After each case, the CRNA has to make sure every patient is stable in recovery before leaving them with the PACU team.  It’s then on to the next patient to do it all over again.

In order to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, you must graduate with a minimum of a master’s degree from an accredited nurse anesthesia program and pass the national certification exam, which is administered by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists.

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