You recently submitted an abstract titled Improving Postpartum Depression Screening and Referral in the Pediatric Setting, what inspired to choose this topic? What were your findings?
I chose this topic because my tenure in my DNP program made me cognizant of my passions for infant health, preventative medicine, and fostering maternal-infant interactions. As many pediatric providers know, postpartum depression (PPD) is a silent epidemic: it affects up to one-fifth of American mothers and, when untreated, can have serious and lifelong effects on women as well as their children. As cultural norms shift, it is, fortunately, becoming a more natural topic of conversation; however, there is significant room for improvement--as it is estimated that less than half of PPD cases are even identified. I did two clinical rotations at a rural pediatric ambulatory clinic where I quickly realized that screening efforts for PPD were inconsistent and misaligned with recommendations set forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). We are still in the process of analyzing data, but from the first glance, the quality improvement project appears to have significantly increased screening rates at the clinic--by nearly fifty percent--as well as increased referrals for further evaluation and treatment when appropriate.
What do you hope to gain by presenting this topic at the 39th National Conference?
I am hoping that other pediatric providers in attendance will think twice about PPD screening efforts at their practice and ask themselves a few questions: Are screening efforts at my clinic standardized and are they in accordance with the AAP's recommendation? Are we referring at-risk mothers? If not, what is stopping us? I am hoping my project will motivate attendees to improve PPD screening and referral efforts at their workplace and demonstrate that PPD screening and referral can be effective and successful in the pediatric setting.
In your opinion, which new trends are the most impactful in today’s pediatric health care world?
There are so many! However, I am very interested in and believe the influence technology has currently on pediatric health care is fascinating. From the emergence and adoption of electronic health records (EHR) to the development of telemedicine and digital engagement to social media, technology is enabling health care to reach and benefit more children; nonetheless, technology's negative influence over our patients and their loved ones is not to be dismissed nor taken lightly.
How can NAPNAP members not only prepare for these trends but also serve as health care leaders in light of them?
Pediatric providers need to stay abreast on emerging technologies and stay up to date on technological trends that may affect their pediatric patients in order to stay relevant, foster their relationships with their patients and their loved ones, and intervene when appropriate. NAPNAP members can get involved with telemedicine or EHR usability research to ensure that the platforms are effective, safe, and user-friendly, consistently assess screen time and usage with our patients to ensure that it is appropriate, and provide anticipatory guidance on technology safety (online bullying, content, etc.).
When you’re not being a rockstar pediatric-focused nurse, what do you enjoy doing?
I love spending time with my family, cooking, traveling, and being outdoors! I have tried my best to not let working and being in graduate school full-time prevent me from taking advantage of exploring North Carolina and beyond. I frequent the Northeast a handful of times per year to visit family in New Jersey and New York and, last year alone, I travelled plenty both domestically to California, Nevada, Texas, and Colorado and internationally to the Caribbean and the Middle East. I am elated to add Chicago to my list in March!