On August 17, the state of Maryland mourned the passing of a pediatric icon. Lenny Robinson, a 51-year-old man who dressed as Batman, drove a Batmobile, and brought joy and excitement to pediatric patients, families and staff at the hospital where I practice, died in a tragic accident. The national news celebrated Batman for the work he did with children, even though many people only knew him from a video where police pulled him over for driving the Batmobile without correct Maryland license plates. He did not want to display the tags because they could prevent children from believing him to be the authentic Batman. I am personally grateful to Lenny for his volunteer dedication to our patients.
Even though Batman’s real identify was mostly unknown, his “undercover” work did not go unnoticed. In the same vein, you, our NAPNAP members may not be nationally or locally renowned, but we are grateful for the, often unnoticed, work that you do for children every day! Our members represent many areas of pediatric practice as well as different educational backgrounds. NAPNAP members are pediatric acute and primary care, neonatal, school health and family nurse practitioners. They are also clinical nurse specialists, registered nurses, students and retirees, among other entities. Our members belong to NAPNAP because they care for and about children. Their collective expertise is expansive, representing just about every specialty available in pediatric health care.
In addition to recognizing NAPNAP members for their continuing contributions to children’s health, I would also like to highlight those members who are nurse practitioner faculty, specifically those teaching pediatrics. If you did not know this, NAPNAP has a strategic alliance with the Association of Faculties of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (AFPNP). This organization, established in 1972, offers an opportunity for faculty who teach in pediatric, family and school-based programs to collaborate on relevant educational issues. The continued success of nurse practitioner graduates reflects the work of tremendous faculty who maintain a strong sense of professionalism through teaching, research, health policy, quality improvement, clinical practice and precepting students. Many NAPNAP members are dedicated to pediatric nursing education and are also members of AFPNP. In the United States and Canada there are currently about 85 primary care PNP programs and almost 30 acute care PNP programs, not to mention the number of family, neonatal and clinical nurse specialist programs. Each pediatric program is led by an expert program director and by faculty who are clinicians as well as academicians and researchers. Kudos to our excellent pediatric faculty!
I hope that all of you will live long lives and continue the legacy of providing expert health care for children. Our standing as pediatric experts unites us and naturally lends to our union under the NAPNAP umbrella. If, after reading about the wonderful work of pediatric practitioners and faculty, you are interested in becoming a member of the exclusive NAPNAP organization, there is a new way to join. NAPNAP has recently begun to offer group memberships to key organizations who advance children’s health. If there are 10 pediatric experts who want to belong within an institution, you can join together and receive a 20% discount on membership prices. Your institution will also receive recognition on the NAPNAP website. You can learn more by visiting our Group Membership page.
Remember to thank your pediatric faculty for their hard work and encourage your pediatric friends to join NAPNAP to strengthen the work we do for children everyday. Our challenges in health care are difficult, but can be easier with support from NAPNAP. Many people, like Batman, will be there to help us along the way.