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'To Get To A Baby, You Must Go Through The NICU Nurse' :

June 21, 2016

I am a former Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nurse and Clinical Nurse Specialist who was bitten by the research bug and landed in the pharmaceutical industry as a mid-life career change

Mary A Short, RN, MSN, presenting about the International Neonatal Consortium (INC).Mary A Short, RN, MSN, presenting about the International Neonatal Consortium (INC).I am a former Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nurse and Clinical Nurse Specialist who was bitten by the research bug and landed in the pharmaceutical industry as a mid-life career change. My role now is as a Research Advisor for the Pediatric Capabilities Function at Eli Lilly and Company and an industry representative to the International Neonatal Consortium (INC).

 

It was my roots in the NICU that led me to author “Neonatal Nurses: Key Stakeholders in the International Neonatal Consortium,” in June 2016 NeoReviews.

I started my nursing career in the NICU in 1976. Neonatal practice at that time was to adapt (with much creativity and persistence) medications, devices and procedures from the adult ICUs for use in the NICU. In doing so, the survival rates of premature and sick newborns improved, but that improvement did not come without cost, despite our best intent and efforts.

Memories remain with me of the infants and their families who experienced adverse events related to our efforts. It is those memories that spurred me to action within my pharmaceutical roles when legislative efforts began to incentivize and require pediatric research.  It seemed like a way to channel the passion from my NICU experience to benefit my company, my former NICU colleagues and, most importantly, neonates and their families. 

1970s archival photo courtesy of Akron Children’s Hospital.1970s archival photo courtesy of Akron Children’s Hospital.Those who practiced any aspect of neonatal medicine during my era in the NICU knew that to get to a baby, you must go through the NICU nurse, and for that very reason it is important that INC embraces neonatal nurses as key stakeholders. Conversely, NICU nurses must actively participate in the consortium to advocate for improved outcomes for neonates.

 From that perspective, I wrote the NeoReviews article to inform nursing professional organizations and individual nurses about the rationale for establishment of INC, its mission, goals, and priority working groups. I want to provide nurses with opportunities within the consortium to ensure that research in neonates has meaningful clinical endpoints, feasible study designs and is supported by the nursing profession, which I believe is key to parent acceptance of research.

I would like you to join me in working towards improving outcomes for newborns, so please consider:

--Reading Short MA. Neonatal nurses: Key stakeholders in the International Neonatal Consortium.  NeoReviews 2016;17(6) e305- e3The INC Data Workgroup co-chaired by Kate Costeloe (Queen Mary Univ. of London) and Thomas Diacovo (Columbia Univ. Medical Center).The INC Data Workgroup co-chaired by Kate Costeloe (Queen Mary Univ. of London) and Thomas Diacovo (Columbia Univ. Medical Center).10; DOI: 10.1542/neo.17-6-e305 to learn more about INC;

volunteering for INC-related activities through the National Association of Neonatal Nurses  (NANN) or the Council of International Neonatal Nurses (COINN);

--Discussing with your neonatal professional organizations the potential to become involved in INC. Contact  Lynn Hudson (LHudson@c-path.org) at the Critical Path Institute for more information;

--Following the progress of INC deliverables and consider how best to incorporate deliverables into your practice and your unit. For more Information:  https://c-path.org/programs/inc/; and

--Attending the EMA 2nd Annual Neonatal Scientific Workshop, Sept. 12-13, 2016, London Meeting (free registration and webcast option).

Additional Resources:

  • Davis, J.M., Turner, M.A. Global Collaboration to Develop New and Existing Drugs for Neonates, JAMA Pediatrics. Published online Aug. 10, 2015. Accessed at: http://archpedi.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2422332 on June 20, 2016.

  • Eklund W. A New Global Initiative: The International Neonatal Consortium. Advances in Neonatal Care. 2016;16(1):3-4.
  • Hudson L. Collaborating to Accelerate the Development of Safe and Effective Therapies for Neonates. Infant. 2015;11:4.

  • McCune SK, Mulugeta YA. Regulatory science needs for neonates: a call for neonatal community collaboration and innovation. Front Pediatr. 2014;2:135-137.

  • Offringa M, et al. Applying Regulatory Science to Develop Safe and Effective Medicines for Neonates. Therapeutic Innovation & Regulatory Science journal. DOI: 10.1177/2168479015597730 (2015). Accessed at: http://dij.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/08/06/2168479015597730 on June 20, 2016.
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