McMaster University

McMaster University

Advanced neonatal nursing students to share knowledge with colleagues from across Canada

By Amanda Boundris

Students Kniessl Wagan, Jill Larocque and Nancy Couto
From left: students Kniessl Wagan, Jill Larocque and Nancy Couto will present their work to the Canadian Association of Neonatal Nurses on June 6.

Three students nearing completion of McMaster University’s Advanced Neonatal Nursing (ANN) Graduate Diploma program will present their work to the Canadian Association of Neonatal Nurses (CANN) on June 6.

Students Kniessl Wagan, Nancy Couto and Jill Larocque will each deliver a 30-minute presentation as part of CANN’s audio seminar series.

Marilyn Ballantyne, an assistant professor with the School of Nursing and program coordinator for the ANN program, said this opportunity is important for the students because they get to "share their learning, accomplishments and knowledge with other nurses across Canada’s NICUs – those who care for the most vulnerable infants who require neonatal intensive care."

The ANN program prepares nurse practitioners (NP) in the neonatal specialty. NPs have expanded clinical skills and can diagnose illnesses, order and interpret diagnostic tests, prescribe medications, perform procedures, and make referrals to specialists. Neonatal NPs have specialized education relevant to neonatology and can only work with newborns.

Wagan will discuss current evidence and recommendations around delayed clamping of the umbilical cord for term and preterm infants. She said clamping of the umbilical cord immediately after delivery has been a common practice for many years, but studies have found that a delay in cord clamping – anywhere between 30 to 180 seconds – offers health benefits to the newborn, with no adverse effects to the mother or her infant. 

"This opportunity to present is important since it will enable me to convey and share important knowledge about the latest evidence on delayed cord clamping with fellow nurses, as well as other health care professionals," said Wagan. "More importantly, it provides a means of encouraging more nurses to contribute to the development of nursing knowledge."

Couto’s presentation will focus on antiretroviral therapy for HIV-exposed infants. She will talk about HIV transmission, pathophysiology, research evidence and national guidelines directing infant antiretroviral prophylactic management in the initial postpartum period.

"The neonatal nurse practitioner plays an important role in clinical education as well as nursing leadership and I feel privileged to have an opportunity to contribute to continuing education in this CANN seminar," said Couto.

Larocque will present on neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia (NAIT), a disease affecting fetuses and newborns in which the platelet count is decreased. She will explain some of the potential complications of NAIT and look at the initial management of an infant with unexpected NAIT, along with research to date and some suggestions for future research.

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