The Importance of Nurses

New continuing education program capitalizes on the important role nurses play in our health and health care


Nurses are the cornerstone of the nation’s health care industry—they not only offer care and comfort, but also serve as role models for good health care. A Continuing Education Program on SIDS Risk Reduction: Curriculum for Nurses, a new curriculum from the NICHD that was created in collaboration with the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), First Candle, and nearly a dozen national organizations, aims to capitalize on the important role that nurses play by teaching them how to communicate information on sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) with parents and families.

This accredited continuing education (CE) program offers nurses background information on SIDS and SIDS research, specific recommendations and risk-reduction strategies, and practical ways to communicate this information to parents and families, without adding to their already hectic schedules. Those who successfully complete the CE program receive 1.1 hours of CE credit.

“The NICHD is enthusiastic about this program,” said Duane Alexander, M.D., NICHD Director. “The information, which reinforces the unique role that nurses play in health care, was created in close collaboration with nursing and other organizations. This important step helps to ensure that the information is both useful and accurate.”

Along with the NINR and First Candle, the NICHD worked with a number of national nursing and health care organizations to create and test this CE program. These partners were critical to creating the program; now that the program is available, the NICHD and NINR are relying on these partners to help spread the word about the CE program’s availability. Some of the partners’ (names in bold) efforts are described below:

  • First Candle will conduct CE sessions at a variety of regional and national meetings and conferences, including:  the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources meeting; the National Association of Neonatal Nurses national meeting; the South Perinatal Association regional conference; the American Public Health Association national conference; the National Alaska Native/American Indian Nursing Association national meeting; and the national conference of Sigma Theta Tau, the national nursing honor society.
  • The March of Dimes presented the CE program at the National Fetal and Infant Mortality Review (NFIMR) national conference, is distributing the CE program in Kentucky through its Healthy Babies Are Worth the Wait program, and will conduct CE sessions at the national meetings of the National Perinatal Association and the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). AWHONN will also present the CE information to 350 of its section leaders during its national leadership conference.
  • The Academy of Neonatal Nursing distributed information about the CE program at the 8th National Neonatal Nurses meeting and at the National Perinatal Association’s Perinatal Advisory Committee meeting.
  • The Association of SIDS and Infant Mortality Programs (ASIP) will promote the CE program at the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs national conference. ASIP will also inform its members about the availability of the program through a mailing and will distribute the CE program to local NFIMR groups.
  • The Washington State Department of Health sent information about the CE program to the state’s public health departments and to educators in its First Steps program, which helps low-income pregnant women receive care and services.
  • Other partner organizations, including the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the National Association of Pediatric Nurses and Nurse Practitioners, the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), and the Society of Pediatric Nursing, will be posting information about and links to the CE program on their organization's Web sites.

The NICHD and its partners are also developing an interactive online version of the CE program, expected to be available later in 2007. The NICHD is also exploring a partnership with pharmacy organizations to adapt the program for pharmacists.

To learn more about the Continuing Education Program on SIDS Risk Reduction: Curriculum for Nurses, select one of the links below:


Originally Posted: November 5, 2007


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