Development of a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Led NICU Transport Team
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Background: In the United States, approximately one in ten births result in a premature neonate with an estimated cost to society due to premature births of over 26 billion dollars a year. The demand for newborn transport is increasing with the growing population in a rural upper midwestern state. The central and west regions are lacking a trained NNP-led NICU transport team for premature/term neonates. Purpose: The purpose of this project was to create a NNP-led interprofessional NICU transport team to provide emergency care for critically ill or injured neonates from referral sites, and transport them to level three NICU units using air ambulance services or ground transport. Implementation: The transport team providing emergency care will consist of one NNP, one NICU registered nurse, and one registered respiratory therapist in collaboration with the neonatologist. This project utilized hospital policies, guidelines, transport protocols, the state Board of Nursing regulations, and the Commission on Accreditation on Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS) regulations to develop and implement this transport program. Results: Interprofessional NNP-led NICU transport team began on December 1st, 2016. The team is available for ground transport 24 hours a day and seven days a week, supported by volunteer call personnel on the weekends. Removal from service of the current helicopter and purchase of a new helicopter have delayed air transport until the summer of 2017. Conclusions: The need for qualified newborn interprofessional NNP led transport team is partially met by ground transport with pending air transport in 2017. Continued challenges of the NICU transport team is staff retention and scheduling.