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Adv Neonatal Care. 2016 Apr;16(2):E3-11. doi: 10.1097/ANC.0000000000000256.

Journey to Becoming a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner: Making the Decision to Enter Graduate School.

Author information

1
Texas Children's Hospital, Houston (Dr Brand); and College of Nursing, Texas Woman's University, Houston (Drs Cesario, Symes, and Montgomery).

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Neonatal nurse practitioners (NNPs) play an important role in caring for premature and ill infants. Currently, there is a shortage of NNPs to fill open positions. Understanding how nurses decide to become NNPs will help practicing nurse practitioners, managers, and faculty encourage and support nurses in considering the NNP role as a career choice.

PURPOSE:

To describe how nurses decide to enter graduate school to become nurse practitioners.

METHODS:

A qualitative study using semistructured interviews to explore how 11 neonatal intensive care unit nurses decided to enter graduate school to become NNPs.

RESULTS:

Key elements of specialization, discovery, career decision, and readiness were identified. Conditions leading to choosing the NNP role include working in a neonatal intensive care unit and deciding to stay in the neonatal area, discovering the NNP role, deciding to become an NNP, and readiness to enter graduate school. Important aspects of readiness are developing professional self-confidence and managing home, work, and financial obligations and selecting the NNP program.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE:

Neonatal nurse practitioners are both positive role models and mentors to nurses considering the role. Unit managers are obligated to provide nurses with opportunities to obtain leadership skills. Faculty of NNP programs must be aware of the impact NNP students and graduates have on choices of career and schools.

IMPLICATIONS FOR RESEARCH:

Exploring the decision to become an NNP in more geographically diverse populations will enhance understanding how neonatal intensive care unit nurses decide to become NNPs.

PMID:
26945281
DOI:
10.1097/ANC.0000000000000256
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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