1. Sharpe, Elizabeth DNP, APRN, NNP-BC, VA-BC

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Mentors guide your steps to paths you never knew existed.


"There's someone I'd like you to meet."


That's how my mentoring relationship began, how a globally respected expert's path collided with that of a Florida neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurse.


Dr Janet Pettit was a neonatal nurse practitioner, a clinical nurse specialist, an educator extraordinaire, and I'm proud to say, my mentor. She encouraged, inspired, and motivated me to walk paths of professional growth that I never knew existed or dreamed were possible. She advised what my first article should be about and why it was needed. She was a kind editor in my first attempt at publication. She was always thinking about what the next step should be to explore and advance practices. Our shared passion for best practice for peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs) would lead to unique collaborations and our first national survey. Thanks to Dr Pettit, I came to know the joy of publication including an article in this issue of Advances in Neonatal Care.


Dr Pettit was a pioneer with her early recognition that vascular access was a critical and essential bridge on the road from the NICU to home. Throughout her more than 35-year career in nursing, she pursued and modeled excellence in care, research, and anything else in her sights. She was a nationally and internationally recognized leader and educator, whose numerous accomplishments include landmark publications such as the National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN) Guideline for Practice: Peripherally Inserted Central Catheters, 1st and 2nd editions, and the Association for Vascular Access Pediatric Central Venous Catheter Best Practice Guidelines.


Dr Pettit was a visionary advocate for the development of new evidence and advancement of the science in our field. Although her expertise was impressive, what set Dr Pettit apart was not only her professionalism but also her heart. Her compassion and humility enabled her to connect with clinicians, yet challenge and inspire them to stretch just a bit farther to elevate neonatal practice. She always was willing to share her knowledge and expertise.


Dr Janet Pettit led early quality improvement initiatives as a founding member of the California Perinatal Quality Care Collaborative, producing the first toolkit for central line-associated bloodstream infection and significant positive outcomes nationwide. She also served on the NANN Board of Directors and was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award. Her unwavering commitment to advancing the science of vascular access earned her the Herbst award from the Association for Vascular Access. She was the founder of the Vascular Access Certification Corporation providing certification in the specialty of vascular access.


A true mentor wields great power and can be life-changing. Dr Pettit knew just when and how to encourage, the art of gentle reminders, and always shared the disappointments and the joys of accomplishments. She not only taught more than the nuts and bolts of professional growth but also how to have fun along the way. At one meeting, she convinced me that it was more important to see the National Cathedral than to attend every talk. In hindsight, this visit was priceless. Her passion for excellence was contagious, raised the bar for those around her, and continues to impact care for countless infants and families globally.


Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence. (Sheryl Sandberg)


I am grateful for my colleagues with whom I have enjoyed the privilege of collaboration in our most recent survey on neonatal PICCs appearing in this issue. Dr Janet Pettit was an extraordinary mentor and a remarkable leader. Through her work to advance the science, clinicians worldwide are empowered to sustain her impact, reduce patient harm, and enable brighter futures for the tiniest of our patients every day. She left our neonatal community too soon and her gifts are missed, but the legacy of her leadership is lasting.


Elizabeth Sharpe, DNP, APRN, NNP-BC, VA-BC


Director at Large, Board of Directors


National Association of Neonatal Nurses