1. Section Editor(s): RYAN, ANGELA RN

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Last fall the NANN board of directors and the National Association of Neonatal Nurse Practitioners (NANNP) leadership council met to develop a strategic plan for the next 3 to 5 years. We defined our goal for NANN in the next 15 to 20 years to be the advocate and leading change agent for the neonatal nursing profession to optimize care for neonates and their families.


Four strategic priority areas were identified, and since that time, we have been working on specific goals under each area:



A member needs assessment survey is underway to determine priorities for educational programming, guidelines, and products, and interest in online networking and communications. We have also redesigned the NANN Web site,, to provide us with greater functionality to handle e-commerce and interactive services in the future. The board believes that effective use of the Web and e-mail communications will be an important part of how we develop a sense of community among neonatal nurses.



The research committee, chaired by Lynn Damato, PhD, RN, has been hard at work developing a standard approach for assessing evidence to be used for the development of NANN's evidence-based guidelines. They have also clarified the definitions for evidence-based practice projects versus research so that members submitting abstracts for our annual research summit will be able to identify the type of project they wish to present. This year's research summit in Scottsdale, Arizona, was a huge success. We expect to see more and more scholarly work from the NANN members, published in Advances in Neonatal Care as a result of the summit, and the efforts of Rosalie Mainous and Debra Brandon who coedit this section of the journal.



We continue to work on ideas for new products and services that can produce value for the neonatal community and a source of additional revenue for the association so that we can continue to grow. The PICC and Pain Guidelines and the Advanced Competency in Developmental Care are examples of the types of projects that we continue to develop. We are exploring ideas for additional areas of competence assessment and topics for evidence-based guidelines that we can provide to improve the consistency and quality of neonatal nursing practice. We are also exploring different formats and venues for offering these programs. Expect to hear more about our future plans once the data from the member surveys have been analyzed.



NANN sent 2 members, Laura Stokowski and Debra Sansoucie, to the Nurses in Washington Internship (NIWI) program this spring. Their report follows. This summer they have been working to establish a health policy and advocacy committee for NANN, with an agenda that will address the goals of NANN to improve the health of newborns and their families and advocate for the roles that neonatal nurses play in the healthcare system. The formation of NANNP has highlighted the need for NANN to represent neonatal nurse practitioners in the legislative and policy arena.


We have also joined the American Nurses Association as an organizational liaison to provide a voice for neonatal nursing and vote on issues with it so that our views are heard across the broader professional nursing community.


All of this work will depend on significant member involvement. We have ambitious plans for the next 3 to 5 years that will require a lot of volunteer effort. Volunteer opportunities will be advertised regularly through e-mail and on the Web site. Think about how you want to become involved. The rewards are great-advancing the practice and professionalism of your specialty, personal growth, and recognition from your peers.


NANN'S New Health Policy and Advocacy Committee

Laura Stokowski, RN, MS


Many nurses, if asked, will disavow an interest in politics. Why should not they? Groucho Marx once said, "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it, misdiagnosing it, then misapplying the wrong remedies."


Mr Marx was joking of course, but the truth is, nurses often take a dim view of politics because we are immersed in the practical. We have patients to take care of. We do not have time for speech making, letter writing, and petition signing. Not to mention the tedium of keeping up with the issues. Also nurses, like many people, can sometimes be a bit fatalistic about politics, or indeed, about anything that we feel is beyond our control.


The Nursing Organization Alliance, of which NANN is a member, has a cure for political apathy. It is called the Nurse in Washington Internship (NIWI), a pedal-to-the-metal crash course in politics, advocacy, and legislative affairs that is propelling nursing into the political arena, 1 nurse at a time.


This past March was the first year that NANN participated in NIWI. Two members from NANN and National Association of Neonatal Nurse Practitioners (NANNP), Laura Stokowski and Debra Sansoucie, joined more than 100 nurses from 30 different states at NIWI 2008 in our nation's capital.



NIWI is out to prove that nurses and politics are not really like oil and water. The 3-day program inspired and motivated us to leave our comfort zones and enter the somewhat intimidating world of politics. The NIWI leaders gave us the tools to prepare, present ourselves, make our cases, and follow-up on face-to-face meetings on Capitol Hill, teaching us something we did not learn in nursing school: How to ask for something in a way that increases the chance of actually getting it. Nurses, like all citizens, have a constitutional right to petition their government.


The opportunities presented by NIWI can be divided into 3 areas: (1) education about advocacy and the legislative process in the form of lectures, panel discussions, question and answer sessions, and written materials; (2) the opportunity to experience the legislative process by meeting with our representatives, senators, or members of their staff to establish mutually beneficial relationships and communicate requests from nursing community; (3) and perhaps most valuable for NANN, the chance to meet and network with other nurses about how their organizations have incorporated legislative activities to influence health policy.


As we listened to one politically savvy speaker after another, the light started to break through the fog. Our elected officials, the senators and representatives in congress who are making decisions that affect us all, actually know very little about healthcare and less about nursing. Who better to educate them than nurses, who are in the trenches and understand the issues from the inside?


NANN is ready to join other specialty organizations in having visibility in Washington. The NANN board of directors has decided that the first step will be to form a health policy and advocacy committee to lead the pursuit of NANN's legislative agenda. However, this is not a goal that can be reached by a few individuals on a committee. Both NANN and NANNP will need all members to contribute to their political voices. Here is how you can help:


* Keep an open mind about politics.


* Read communications from the Health Policy and Advocacy Committee.


* Bring issues to our attention.


* Join in efforts to influence legislative votes at the state or the federal level.


* Consider putting your own toe in the water by getting to know your state and federal legislators.



Please stay tuned to these pages for updates about the Health Policy and Advocacy Committee and opportunities for you to become involved.