Specialized training for pediatric CICU nurse practitioners

By Misty D. Ellis, DNP, APRN, CPNP-AC/PC

Nurse practitioners in the Jennifer Lawrence Cardiac Intensive Care Unit are trained and certified in pediatric acute care. They are dedicated to caring for and managing critically ill pediatric heart patients.

This specialized training is now the gold standard for children’s hospitals. By adopting this standard, Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, joins elite institutions including Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Boston Children’s Hospital.

Specialized training is more than a badge signifying additional knowledge and more than letters after our names. We are front-line providers making real-time decisions. That extra training makes a real difference.

I started as a bedside nurse for heart patients and found I had a passion for complex cases. I’ve since received my Doctor of Nursing Practice degree and a certified pediatric nurse practitioner certification.

The team — Amelia C. Lewis, Jessica Storch, Danielle Van Damme and Ashley Beckett — also has embraced the additional training needed to offer the best care. This is an exceptional group of nurse practitioners.

You have to be a high-level learner to care for acute pediatric heart patients. It’s not for everyone. These cases are complex. Fortunately, our nurse practitioners are highly skilled and have met the intellectual challenge. They also are incredibly hard workers. I feel very fortunate that we have such good people on our team. I know our patients are lucky to have them at their bedside every day.

We rely on one another to make everything run smoothly. We are a big team, collaborating to ensure our patients receive high-quality, safe care. Being pediatric acute care trained and certified means we are able to add an extra layer of support and continuity for the team.

The patients, their families and the medical puzzle each presents are what motivates me and makes every member of my team tick. As specialized front-line providers, we are able to make a real difference in the intensive care unit every day — and that is gratifying.

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