Children's Hospital Colorado

Become a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) at Children's Hospital Colorado

At Children’s Colorado, our neonatal nurse practitioners (NNPs) ensure that the smallest patients receive the finest care. We do so through physician collaboration and a unique working environment that combines strong professional autonomy with exceptional technology.

CARE For more than 3,500 infants annually
100 Local, regional, national NNPs

What are neonatal nurse practitioners (NNPs)?

Neonatal nurse practitioners (NNPs) are advanced practice nurses who specialize in the care of newborns. They are trained at the master’s level and are certified by the National Certification Corporation.

NNPs typically work in the neonatal intensive care or special care nursery. They work collaboratively with doctors to manage the medical care of some of the smallest and sickest newborns.

What makes being an NNP at Children’s Colorado unique?

Joining the NNP team at Children’s Colorado provides an opportunity to work with a diverse group of patients with varying levels of care needs and within several community locations. We provide care in Level IV, III and II units across the region.

The Level IV unit at Children’s Colorado provides care to critically ill preterm infants, including those with surgical complications.

Our team also staffs several Level II and III units in the community. The Level II team collaborates with local providers, family practice pediatricians and nurse practitioners (NPs) to provide care – with neonatology consults a phone call away. This means that preterm infants and those with minor complications can stay in their local community while still receiving expert care.

In collaboration with a board-certified neonatologist, the Level III team provides care to critically ill pre-term infants closer to home within their community.

Because of our work in the community within these environments, our teams are able to transition between levels of care throughout our system.

What’s it like to be based at Children’s Colorado on Anschutz Medical Campus?

Our team of NNPs collaborate with attending neonatologists and specialists at Children’s Colorado. For example, our NNPs attend high-risk deliveries in the Maternal Fetal Care Unit.

We also work closely with the pediatric surgery team and include NNPs in each rotation on the surgical team. This gives our NNPs the opportunity to better understand the surgeries, complications and post-operation care needs for our patients with specific conditions including:

  • Gastroschisis
  • Omphalocele
  • Tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF)
  • Esophageal atresia (EA)
  • Malrotation/volvulus
  • Gastric perforations
  • Surgical necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC)
  • Conjoined twin separation congenital
  • Diaphragmatic hernia (CDH)

The NNPs also provide education to nursing staff, physician groups and families around the special needs of a neonate.

Serving our local community and receiving national recognition

Our NNP group provides services to several hospitals throughout the Denver-metro area, as well as outlying smaller communities.

NNPs in the community attend high-risk deliveries, consult on cases when necessary, and collaborate with pediatricians, family practice physicians and neonatologists. By having NNPs in the community, more patients can stay close to home and close to their family. If a higher level of care is needed, our NNPs can facilitate a transfer to the appropriate facility that can provide the care necessary.

In addition, some of our NNPs serve at the national level with organizations such as the National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN) and the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN ). Our NNPs also serve as liaisons to the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Fetus and Newborn, and the steering committee for the New NANNP. Others are active at the local level, teaching NNP students at Regis University or providing continuing education opportunities to neonatal nurses.

Lead Neonatal Nurse Practitioners and hospital affiliations

  1. Jessica Benes, NNP Clinical Manager, Children’s Hospital Colorado
  2. Anna Hying, University of Colorado Hospital
  3. Peggy Osterman, Parker Adventist Hospital
  4. Rebecca Prosen, Boulder Foothills Hospital
  5. Dallas Estey, Longmont United Hospital
  6. Melda Musick, Platte Valley Medical Center
  7. Kathleen Benjamin, Medical Center of the Rockies
  8. Erin Austin, Poudre Valley Hospital
  9. Christy Martin, Longs Peak

What educational opportunities are available to NNPs?

Ongoing education is available to our NNP team and is an important component in how we work at Children’s Colorado. Several opportunities are available throughout the year, including:

  • New Graduate NNP Fellowship: A one-year transition to practice program including didactic education and a minimum 16-week focused preceptorship with an experienced NNP.
  • Neonatal Nurse Specialist Intern (NNSI): This program is designed to get newly-graduated NNPs into their new role as quickly as possible (after passing National Certification Corporation (NCC) but before formal credentialing).
  • Dedicated Neonatal Orientation and Integration: Aids in onboarding newly graduated and newly hired experienced NNPs.
  • Neonatal Advanced Practice Conference: Started in 2010, our annual regional conference in collaboration with the Front Range Association of Neonatal Nurses.
  • Annual procedural review lab for all NNPs: Includes high-fidelity, high-technology simulation and debriefing for resuscitation scenarios. The objective is to provide an annual educational opportunity with a systematic content review and simulation experience of advanced procedures for the high-risk neonate.

Advanced practice nursing requirements

A Master's degree, state-recognized APN, NCC, and prescriptive authority certification are required to work at Children’s Colorado. A minimum of one year Level III NICU experience is preferred.

To learn more about becoming a NNP at Children's Colorado, please email