Children's Hospital Colorado

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

Our pioneering neonatal program treats the smallest patients at their most vulnerable, achieving the outcomes that affect the rest of their lives.

Best Children's Hospital by U.S. News & World Report Neonatology 2021-2 Badge

At Children’s Hospital Colorado, our neonatal nurse practitioners (NNPs) ensure that the smallest patients receive the best care. Our NNPs have the expertise and experience to lead advanced care of newborns and work collaboratively with our entire care team and providers across our communities. We are providing the highest level of care to critically ill newborns in our care and bringing that expertise closer to home for numerous Colorado families.

What is the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Program?

Our NNPs provide dedicated neonatal care across Colorado’s Front Range region. From the most complex care in our Level IV NICU on the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora to specialized care at partner Level II and III NICUs and SCNs around Colorado, our NNPs are a critical part of our neonatology team.

Our NNPs are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) trained at the master’s or doctorate level and are board-certified by the National Certification Corporation. Our growing team of over 100 NNPs provide dedicated care to thousands of newborns annually. We collaborate with attending neonatologists and specialists throughout our organization, as well as pediatricians, family medicine doctors and neonatologists across the state. We do so through physician collaboration and a unique working environment that combines strong professional autonomy with exceptional technological capabilities.

In our NICU on the Anschutz Medical Campus, NNPs care for critically ill preterm infants and assist with high-risk deliveries. In our partnered community sites, our NNPs care for critically ill infants and those with minor complications, while also attending high-risk deliveries and collaborating with local providers. And we provide this care 24/7.

We bring our expertise to the communities and allow patients to stay close to home while receiving the care they need. Outside of the care provided to neonates and their families, the NNP team also partners with individual site leadership to help educate their support staff on the most up-to-date practices of neonatal care on an ongoing basis. Our goal is to elevate neonatal care and NNP practice in our hospitals and across Colorado.

See where we provide neonatal care:

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What is the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Fellowship?

If you are a recent graduate of a neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP) program looking to transition into practice, you could do so under the guidance of some of the most accomplished NNPs in the country. The Children’s Hospital Colorado NNP Fellowship was the first NNP fellowship in the country accredited with distinction by the American Nurses Credentialing Center Practice Transition Accreditation Program.

Our NNP fellowship is a one-year program that helps NNPs transition to practice in one of the best children’s hospitals in the country. The fellowship is designed to facilitate the transition of a recent NNP graduate from a master’s or doctoral student to a competent and confident NNP. After successful completion of the fellowship, graduates may then be invited to join the Children’s Colorado NNP Program, which supports neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) and special care nurseries (SCNs) throughout Colorado’s Front Range region.

The NNP fellowship incorporates precepted clinical practice, educational content, clinical lab and simulation instruction, scholarly project guidance, peer-support and mentorship. We hope to promote life-long learning in NNP practice and aim to recruit and retain top NNPs to the Children’s Colorado NNP Program.

The fellowship allows new NNP graduates to work and learn in a clinical setting while obtaining their requisite licenses and credentials. It also creates a more consistent and formal process to prepare NNPs to confidently lead care autonomously in a NICU or another nursery.

What to expect from the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Fellowship

Our competency-based curriculum combines classroom learning with hands-on experience in clinical and lab settings.

Precepted clinical experience

For the first 16 to 20 weeks of fellowship, known as phase one, NNP fellows develop their clinical practice under the one-to-one guidance of experienced NNP preceptors. Most often, NNP fellows practice under a unique job description during Phase I and must be directly supervised by a board-certified, fully credentialed and privileged NNP. At the completion of phase one, NNP fellows should be able to function independently in our NICU on Anschutz Medical Campus, and potentially NICUs at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital or UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital (or a combination of sites depending on individual circumstances, learning and staffing needs).

Mentored clinical experience

NNP fellows provide care at their assigned clinical site(s) during phase two of fellowship. Phase two begins with reduced patient loads. The NNP fellows always practice at a site with an experienced NNP who is in-house and available for clinical decision support and mentorship. In the final months of the NNP Fellowship, NNP fellows gradually begin to challenge themselves by incrementally taking more patients with the goal of managing a full patient load at the completion of NNP Fellowship.

Classroom instruction

NNP fellows meet 1 to 2 times per month with the NNP Education Team for classroom education, procedural skills labs, scholarly project guidance, focus group discussions, and high-fidelity simulation and debriefing experiences. The classroom education sessions and core curriculum focus on the needs of high-acuity neonatal patients, clinical reasoning, communication skills, role transition, ethical decision-making and leadership abilities. We incorporate additional content into each NNP Fellowship based on the cohort’s needs.

Scholarly project

NNP fellows will complete a scholarly project with support from expert mentors. Projects typically focus on improvement in the NICU and address outcomes related to clinical issues or process improvement of a system of care. Completed with a NICU interdisciplinary team, the selected project may include evidence-based practice, quality or process improvement, or research. Upon completion, fellows present their project via poster and/or podium presentation prior to graduation from the NNP Fellowship.

Mentorship

In addition to clinical practice and scholarly project mentorship, our fellows are provided one-on-one mentorship by a selected Children’s Colorado NNP mentor. The goal of this mentorship relationship is to help the fellow meet their professional development goals and engage in the Children’s Colorado community. Recognizing the benefit of mentorship across the career span for all NNPs, the NNP Education Team plans to expand mentoring resources in the future to provide team members with the partnership they need to nourish engagement and promote their own growth and development.

Work schedules and placements

The fellowship is a one-year, full-time salaried position. Schedules vary to accommodate both education days and clinical time, averaging 40 hours per week. Clinical time includes nights, weekends and holidays. The NNP Education Team will develop a schedule that best addresses the fellow’s learning needs and the preceptor’s availability.

NNP fellows receive the same paid time off and health and retirement benefits as all Children’s Colorado advanced practice registered nurses.

NNP fellowship cohorts start in the summer. We admit fellows depending on the need and availability of positions in the NNP Program. Once a fellow successfully completes the fellowship requirements and graduate from the program, they may transition to early career NNPs in our NNP Program.

Requirements prior to program start date:

  • Graduation with a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing from an accredited NNP program within 15 months preceding the fellowship start date
  • Current Colorado registered nurse (RN) license and current or pending Colorado advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) and Prescriptive Authority license
  • Successful board certification by the National Certification Corporation as an NNP
  • Current American Heart Association (AHA) Basic Life Support (BLS) and Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) course completion cards
  • Successful completion of all Children’s Colorado employment requirements

How to apply to the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Fellowship

The 2021-2022 NNP Fellowship application process has closed.

New cohorts typically start in July of each year. Please check back here in early 2022 for more information about 2022-2023 NNP Fellowship opportunities.

About our accreditation

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Children’s Hospital Colorado Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Fellowship is accredited with distinction as a Practice Transition Program by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation in Practice Transition Programs.

  • The current sites included in this accreditation with distinction designation are: Children’s Hospital Colorado
  • The current workplace settings included in this accreditation with distinction designation: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit