Member Spotlight: An Interview With Sandra Bellini
The experience of Sandra Bellini, DNP, NNP-BC, is an example of how continued education can shape a career in nursing. Sandy began her nursing career in a hospital diploma program. To earn money to pay for her education, she worked during the summers in a well-baby newborn nursery at her hometown community hospital. As a nursing student working there full time in the summers and part time during the school year, she was able to perform nearly all tasks done by the registered nurses with the exception of administering medications. Following her graduation, she was hired as a staff nurse in that well-baby unit and worked there for 6 months. Her exposure to neonatal intensive care while in nursing school convinced her that she not only enjoyed caring for newborns but also especially liked the challenges of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) environment.
During her first 6 years of practicing as a NICU staff nurse at a nearby hospital, Sandy completed her bachelor of science in nursing degree, and 2 years later she completed her master of science in nursing (MSN) degree as a neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP). She was hired into a newly formed NICU nurse practitioner practice and helped shape the role of NNPs at that institution. She recalls it as an exciting time to be in neonatal nursing. As a preceptor to new nurses and NNP students, Sandy realized that she also liked teaching, so in 2003 she completed a post-MSN certificate in nursing education. She taught NNP students in both the clinical and classroom settings. She considered seeking her doctorate at that point but decided that she would miss clinical practice too much if she was a full-time researcher. In 2005, she began her studies as a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) student. Although she still loved clinical practice, Sandy realized that she was ready for a new challenge when she graduated with her DNP degree in 2007.
Describing it as “serendipity,” Sandy met her future mentor, Regina Cusson, PhD, APRN, NNP-BC, FAAN, at a neonatal conference. Professor Cusson, associate dean of academic affairs and advanced practice at the University of Connecticut, mentioned to Sandy that the school was seeking someone with a DNP to open its new DNP program. Sandy was soon hired there as the DNP program coordinator. She describes her current position as both challenging and rewarding.
Sandy is still able to practice clinically (she spends 20% of her work time practicing as an NNP). Because she is doctorally prepared, she not only provides direct care to NICU infants but also is involved in research, committee work, and quality improvement in the NICU, pediatric intensive care unit, and other pediatric areas of the facility where she practices clinically. Sandy describes her academic role as a perfect mid-career shift. In her role as DNP program coordinator, she doubts she “will ever become bored,” as she learns to be successful in a different part of the nursing world. Sandy considers herself fortunate that her mentor is a neonatal nurse as well. She finds that they have a lot of common ground that she did not expect when she took on an academic position.
When asked to describe some highlights of her nursing career, Sandy spoke of her first NNP role. She reports that she and the other NNPs in the group were proud of the level of practice they were able to establish from the ground up in the mid-1990s. In fact, when the hospital merged with another hospital organization, their practice became the exemplar throughout the institution that was emulated by other group practices. Sandy describes mentoring DNP students as a highlight of her work today. She particularly enjoys helping new DNP graduates expand their practice role as advanced practice neonatal nurses.
Sandy values her NANN membership for the opportunities it gives her to meet and network with neonatal professionals at every level. She has presented at NANN's annual Research Summit and currently serves on NANN's Research Committee, Education Provider Committee, and Nominating Committee. Although her initial reason for joining NANN was the mechanism it provided for her to earn required continuing nursing education contact hours at the annual educational conferences, she now believes that NANN membership allows her to take part in guiding the future path of neonatal nursing. And, she says, that is the one of the most important reasons to be a NANN member!
Preorder nann's New Policies, Procedures, and Competencies for Neonatal Nursing Care
For a limited time, you can preorder NANN's newest resource: Policies, Procedures, and Competencies for Neonatal Nursing Care. The book, to be published in September 2011,
- includes policies, procedures, and competencies based on the best evidence available in the practice of neonatal nursing;
- brings together in one location the most up-to-date evidence and best practice protocols;
- serves as an invaluable resource for developing or revising a unit's policies, procedures, and competencies; and
- covers a wide range of topics from admission to discharge of the neonatal patient.
Coeditors Linda MacKenna Ikuta, MN, RN, CCNS, PHN, and Sandy Sundquist Beauman, MSN, RNC-NIC, said this about the new volume: “Policies, procedures, and competencies are the foundation of patient care and drive our nursing practice. All the policies, procedures, and competencies in this book are based on the best-available evidence in the practice of neonatal nursing. They will serve and help advance your organization's commitment to evidence-based nursing.” Price: members, $795, and nonmembers, $950. Visit www.NANNstore.org to preorder a copy by September 5 (Labor Day) and receive a 10% discount (the discount will be applied when you add the product to your shopping cart).
Nann's 27th Annual Educational Conference: Exploring the Science and Practicing the Art of Neonatal Care
NANN's annual educational conference adds breadth and depth to your continuing nursing education and lifelong learning. At this year's conference, being held September 14 to 17, 2011, at the Caribe Royale Hotel and Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, you will find innovations in neonatal clinical care, management, and research, including best practices and evidence-based recommendations. Keynote speakers are Rebecca Patton, MSN, RN, CNOR, FAAN, the immediate past president of the American Nurses Association; Jane McGowan, MD, professor of pediatrics at Drexel University College of Medicine and medical director of the NICU at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia; and Virginia Beeson, MSN, BSN, NEA-BC, a retired captain in the Nurse Corps of the US Navy. If you provide care for neonates and their families, you belong at this conference.
You will not want to miss the premier national conference for neonatal nurses. Visit www.NANNconference.org, and register today!
Engage in the Conversation: The nann Member Community at www.my.nann.org
Since early May, NANN members have been participating in the NANN Member Community—engaging in discussions, sharing policies and documents, creating new communities, and even blogging. If you have not yet taken advantage of this valuable member benefit, log in today and find out what you have been missing!
In MyNANN, a private social network for NANN members only, you can
- interact with other NANN members;
- have better control and more options with Discussions (formerly called Listservs) that are threaded and searchable by topic;
- find old friends and colleagues—search by name, college, city, or job setting;
- conduct committee business in a secure environment; and
- use the searchable resource library to house documents securely without clogging your e-mail inbox.
- Visit the NANN Member Community at my.nann.org.
- When you have logged in (use your NANN Web site log-in), click on “Profile.”
- Upload your photo and update your e-mail address, biography, and education details.
For help logging in or updating your profile, contact NANN at email@example.com.
NANN's 7th Annual Research Summit: Deadline for Abstract Submission
With the support of an unrestricted educational grant from Mead Johnson Nutrition, NANN will hold its 7th Annual NANN Research Summit March 27 to 29, 2012 in Scottsdale, Arizona, at the Doubletree Paradise Valley Resort. The summit offers neonatal nurses who have advanced practice degrees and who are currently engaged in research or evidence-based practice projects the opportunity to present their research or projects in a relaxed setting among peers. The deadline for online abstract submission is September 9, 2011.
NANN's 28th Annual Educational Conference: Deadline for Abstract Submission
The deadline for submitting abstracts for concurrent sessions and paper and poster presentations for NANN's 28th Annual Educational Conference, to be held October 17 to 20, 2012, in Palm Springs, California, is October 17, 2011. Please consider sharing your expertise with others in the field. For more information, visit the NANN Web site at www.nann.org.