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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

Southampton alumni shows how it is integral to the delivery of UK neonatal care

Published: 14 January 2015

Earlier last week the University of Southampton welcomed back many alumni from its pioneering Advanced Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (ANNP) programme to meet with current ANNP students.

The aim of the event was for qualified ANNPs to discuss with the students how their role has evolved, the impact they have had on neonatal services and the diversity of their role.

Some of the attending ANNP alumni qualified on the first ever UK ANNP training course. Other alumni from the programme, such as Roisin McKeon-Carter, a Senior ANNP and Neonatal Service Line Clinical Director at Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, was recently awarded a Florence Nightingale Foundation Leadership Scholarship to raise the profile of ANNPs and to further develop the role on a national scale.

Speaking at the event, Mrs McKeon-Carter said: “It is a privilege to be invited back to the University of Southampton to speak to current students. My professional career pathway was enhanced by undertaking my neonatal studies and enabled me to develop my clinical and leadership skills. 

“ANNPs are integral to the service provision for the most vulnerable patient groups within the NHS, that is, the extreme preterm and critically ill newborn infants. Since the integration of ANNPs in the NHS in 1992, there have been huge changes, namely the centralisation of neonatal care and neonatal transport. ANNPs have developed alongside this service. We work in a hybrid role with medical colleagues breaking down barriers and supporting the governance, education, research and clinical leadership for neonatal care.

“I am the first nurse appointed to Clinical Director in my hospital and attribute my success in part to my ANNP training here. I hope that by attending this event current students will be enthused and inspired to develop their leadership role within their own organisations.”

The University of Southampton was the first to establish a specific ANNP training programme at its Faculty of Health Sciences in 1992. Prior to this there were no ANNPs in this country. Today ANNPs provide a frontline service and positively impact on the care of preterm babies, inter-professional working and collaboration within neonatal units.

The programme itself was originally conceived in the 1980s by a multi-professional group of doctors and nurses from the Wessex region who developed the idea for providing an advanced clinical role for experienced neonatal clinical nurses.

A unique collaboration between the medical and nursing professions resulted in the first recognised programme in the UK for ANNPs and provides the opportunity for senior clinical neonatal nurses to access theoretical training and preparation for the ANNP role.

Returning ANNP alumni Jacqui Jones, a Senior ANNP in Norwich, said: “It was a huge pleasure to return to Southampton today to talk about life after the ANNP programme. I can honestly say that the course in Southampton prepared me so well for the job and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.”

Southampton’s growing number of ANNP alumni are still linked to the University and involved in the ongoing development and preparation of its students. The programme remains extremely popular and was full to capacity for 2014/15 entry.



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