Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

NANN Provides Education About Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and Zika Virus Infection and Prepares Neonatal Nurses to Be Advocates for Their Profession and Their Patients

Section Editor(s): Edwards, Taryn M.

doi: 10.1097/ANC.0000000000000321
NANN pages: Celebrating 25 years of caring for neonates and their families

Board Member of National Association of Neonatal Nurses

Correspondence: Rachel Bennett, MA, National Association of Neonatal Nurses, 8735 W Higgins Rd, Ste 300, Chicago, IL 60631 (

The author declares no conflicts of interest.

Back to Top | Article Outline


Did you know that every 25 minutes an opioid-exposed infant is born at risk for neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS)? Many neonatal intensive care units, step-down units, and newborn nurseries are struggling to care for this medically fragile and socially complex population. This year NANN is joining forces with Vermont Oxford Network to provide a preconference workshop on NAS. Together, we will take on the clinical challenges of NAS and promote improved quality, safety, and value of care for this vulnerable population of infants and families. You can register for the preconference on the NANN Web site (

In addition to the NAS preconference, registration is also open for the 32nd Annual Educational Conference! The conference will be held in Palm Springs, California, from Wednesday October 26 to Saturday October 29 at the Renaissance Palm Springs and Palm Springs Convention Center. Each year NANN strives to provide high-quality education for conference attendees, as well as networking opportunities with members and exhibitors from across the nation. For the most up-to-date information on the conference lineup, please visit the NANN Web site.

Back to Top | Article Outline


In March, NANN held its inaugural Virtual Lobby Week to provide nurses with the skills needed to become advocates for neonates and the neonatal nursing profession. Over the course of 5 days, the Health Policy and Advocacy Committee taught nurses about advocacy fundamentals—from best practices to the latest issues facing neonatal nurses. Each day members received an e-mail, with a lesson about advocacy with the goal to build skills and confidence as an advocate. The Health Policy and Advocacy Committee asked members to apply these skills by reaching out to their legislators to support Senate Bill 2041, which is also known as the Promoting Life-Saving Therapies for Neonates Act. This bill encourages the development of new therapies to ultimately improve the quality of treatment options available to premature newborns. The Promoting Life-Saving Therapies for Neonates Act would close the treatment gap by encouraging the development of safe and effective drugs for a challenging and often neglected patient population and ensure that new neonatal drugs address the most critical needs.

Back to Top | Article Outline


In May 2015, the first case of Zika virus infection was reported in Brazil. Zika virus infection has since spread rapidly throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. The virus primarily is transmitted to people through an infected Aedes species mosquito. The most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis. The illness is usually mild, with symptoms lasting for several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The most concerning aspect of the virus is the effect on the developing fetus. A Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause microcephaly, as well as pregnancy loss, eye defects, hearing loss, and impaired growth in infants.

Since 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have been working tirelessly to address this global health concern. The CDC is currently tracking the spread of Zika virus and other mosquito-borne viruses in the United States and around the world. They are training disease detectives to find and report Zika cases; teaching healthcare providers how to identify Zika cases; testing samples for Zika virus and providing laboratories with diagnostic tests; studying links between Zika virus infection, birth defects, and Guillain–Barré syndrome; educating the public about Zika virus infection; and advising travelers how to protect themselves while traveling in areas with Zika virus infection.

In addition to the aforementioned efforts, the CDC has established the US Zika Pregnancy Registry to further gain information about the virus and is collaborating with state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments. This registry will allow officials to collect information about pregnancy and infant outcomes following Zika virus infection during pregnancy. The data collected will be used to update recommendations for clinical care, plan for services for pregnant women and families affected by Zika virus, and improve prevention of Zika virus infection during pregnancy.

To find the most up-to-date information about the Zika virus infection and healthcare recommendations, visit the CDC Web site at or the WHO Web site at In addition to these resources, NANN has dedicated a page on its Web site for all the latest Zika virus information.

© 2016 by The National Association of Neonatal Nurses