THE MILLENNIAL GENERATION AND THE FUTURE OF NEONATAL NURSING: A SPOTLIGHT ON NANN MEMBER KRISTIN HOWARD, DNP, MS, NNP
Millennials represent approximately 81 million individuals and are the most educated and diverse generation of young adults in American history, according to a recent Pew Research study. They are motivated individuals who value relationships and are not afraid of change. This generation will replace the baby boomers as they retire.
NANN/NANNP member and neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP) Kristin Howard is one of those young adults representing the millennial generation. Kristin always wanted to work in healthcare. Nursing is in her blood; in fact, Kristin is a fourth-generation nurse. A school assignment cemented her decision to pursue nursing as her career. After graduating from the University of Missouri–St Louis, Kristin worked as a new graduate nurse in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and knew immediately that this specialty would be her focus.
Demonstrating the high education standards of the millennial generation, Kristin never questioned her career choice. She states, “I am privileged to care for infants who can fit in the palm of my hand. I'm there when they come into this world and I get to be there when they leave the hospital to head out into the real world.”
Kristin graduated with her bachelor's of science in nursing degree and immediately knew she wanted to pursue her master's degree as an NNP. Kristin said she would not be content without a terminal degree in nursing. She graduated with her master's degree in nursing as an NNP from Regis University in 2009. She went on to pursue her doctor of nursing practice (DNP), graduating from the University of Minnesota in 2013.
True to her generation, Kristin was motivated to make changes and describes her DNP capstone project as one of the moments that she is most proud of. Kristen used a mentor relationship with a colleague to form her capstone project of delayed cord clamping (DCC) in the preterm infant. The colleague became not only a mentor but also an essential team member throughout the project. Together, they developed an evidence-based protocol that has changed the standard of delivery room care at the hospital that Kristin works in. She has gone on to share the DCC protocol with other facilities in her area. She states, “I feel privileged to have the opportunity to work with such a talented group of clinicians and to be a part of making a change that has led to the improvement in the outcomes of some of the most fragile infants.” Kristin feels the entire project was a labor of love over the past 2 years. She learned not only about DCC but also what it takes to make a change and how one small idea can have a significant impact. Kristin reflects that being part of developing and implementing those standards, so simple in theory and so motivating, opens the door to so many other opportunities for the DNP-prepared NNP.
Relationships with mentors and family have had a significant impact on Kristin. Developing relationships have been an important part of Kristin's professional development. Her mother is a nurse and stressed the importance of belonging to a professional association. Kristin joined NANN in 2006, and it is her goal to be a more active member and to influence the future of her profession. Kristin feels she could not have done what she did without a community of support, family, coworkers, and her professional organization. The path was not always easy. Kristin describes times when she did not feel supported because of her young age. Having obtained her MSN at the age of 25 years and her DNP at the age of 29 years she was often the youngest in her class. She hopes that NANN/NANNP will develop a network of support for young nurses who are passionate about NICU care to go on and further their education. She states that “millennials are highly motivated and should be encouraged, not criticized, for wanting to advance their education.”
Kristin is a young leader who believes in leading by example. She holds herself to a high standard and wants to encourage new neonatal nurses and advanced practice nurses by being a mentor and a teacher. Kristin admits to feeling a little overwhelmed at the idea of pursuing national leadership positions with NANN/NANNP but she is open to all opportunities. “My future as an NNP has many exciting possibilities!”
PHARMACOLOGY WEBINAR SERIES
Are You in Need of Pharmacology Hours?
Launched in May, NANN's new pharmacology webinar series is designed for neonatal nurses who would like to enhance their pharmacology education or are in need of pharmacology hours.
Webinar attendees will receive 1 CNE contact hour and 1 pharmacology hour for each Webinar. If you are unable to attend the live event, purchase the recorded version after the event. Individual and institutional registration is available for each Webinar.
Join us online for the following upcoming Webinars:
- National Drug Shortage Issues, Thursday, October 9, at 11:00 am–Noon CST: Katie Malin, MSN, APNP, NNP-BC, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin; Tamara Wallace, DNP, RN, NNP-BC (Moderator), Vanderbilt
- Antimicrobial Use and Stewardship, Thursday, December 11, at 11:00 am–Noon CST: Melissa Miller, PharmD, Pediatric Clinical Manager, Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children at P/SL; Susan Meier, DNP, APRN, NNP-BC (Moderator), Pediatrix Medical Group
Were you unable to attend a live Webinar? Purchase the following recorded Webinars:
- Rapid Sequence Intubation in the NICU: Dupree Hatch, MD, Neonatal Fellow, Vanderbilt Tamara Wallace, DNP, RN, NNP-BC (Moderator), Vanderbilt
- Prescribing Controlled Substances in the NICU: Chelsea Aidala, PharmD, BCPS, Women's and Children's Services, Swedish Medical Center; Susan Meier, APRN, DNP, NNP-BC (Moderator), Pediatrix Medical Group
To learn more about NANN's pharmacology Webinar series, visit www.nann.org/webinar.