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UofL nursing program will prepare graduates to care for critically ill infants

by Julie Heflin, HSC Communications and Marketing last modified Jul 18, 2012 12:09 PM

The University of Louisville School of Nursing has reintroduced the neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP) program because of a positive national job outlook for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who care for critically ill infants.

This is the school’s seventh major concentration for the master’s in nursing program. Others include acute care, adult, family, women’s health/family and psychiatric nurse practitioner concentrations. The school also offers a Master of Science in nursing with a certificate in health professions education.

“The School of Nursing is in a pivotal place to offer this type of educational program with so many level II and III nurseries in the metro Louisville area and Owensboro hospitals – important partners to the school,” said Marcia Hern, School of Nursing dean. “We hope to attract students from neighboring states and beyond under the leadership of Sandra Smith, who joined our faculty in January 2012 from the University of Utah where she also directed a similar program.”

Smith said NNPs provide comprehensive care to high-risk infants, coordinating care among various specialists and team members.

“Neonatal nurse practitioners are on the frontline caring for vulnerable, voiceless patients. They manage the care of infants from admission to discharge,” she said. “I want our students to think on their feet – to evaluate, coordinate and determine what will help these infants improve.”

UofL’s NNP track will prepare graduates to practice in level I to III neonatal intensive care units. The curriculum meets the National Association of Neonatal Nurses educational standards and has approval of the National Certification Corporation. Graduates are eligible for the NCC certification exam for NNPs.

“We know the preparation of these APRNs will contribute significantly to the team of excellent neonatologists in Louisville and other parts of the country,” Hern said.

The School of Nursing is accepting applications for fall 2013. Learn more about the program here.

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