On November 1, 2016, the first applications for neonatal therapy certification started pouring in. Neonatal therapy has always been an area of advanced practice that requires additional training and education. However, achieving that additional training and education was not clearly defined, nor was it evident how neonatal therapists could demonstrate their advanced skill set to hospital staff and administrators or even to fellow therapists.
Therapists needed a neonatal therapy certification program!
How else to ensure that those entering the field and caring for the most critical infants had met a minimum standard? After years of careful research, planning and anticipating, the Neonatal Therapy National Certification Program was unveiled. What has resulted after one year is quite remarkable and reflective of the incredible group of people who make up the body of neonatal therapists worldwide.
There are close to 200 OTs, PTs, or SLPs who have either become certified or started the process toward certification. Certified Neonatal Therapists (CNTs) represent those who have met the minimum standards to practice effectively and independently in the NICU with high risk infants and their families. CNTs come from across the United States and around the globe. Those who have become certified have demonstrated a solid understanding reflective of current evidence. Neonatal therapists who seek certification are eager to expand their knowledge, regardless of how much training and education they have already accrued. CNTs have access to like-minded colleagues who value experience, commitment and excellence via a private group which allows engagement in professional dialogue with others who have demonstrated the same commitment.
The first group of CNTs at NANT 7. We anticipate being able to recognize more than twice this number of CNTs at NANT 8 and hope you will be part of it. Picture yourself here, being recognized as a CNT!
While the program has seen tremendous growth in its first year, it is apparent that there are far more neonatal therapists interested in achieving the distinction of Certified Neonatal Therapist. Regardless of the level, size or location of NICU in which therapists work or whether they work full or part-time in the NICU, all are united in wanting to provide the best therapeutic interventions possible to the fragile and vulnerable infants they serve. Certification is a mark of striving for excellence.
For years prior to the launch of certification, the Neonatal Therapy National Certification Board (NTNCB) worked tirelessly to develop a program designed by neonatal therapists that is intended for neonatal therapists. This board is constantly striving to improve this process and have developed several resources to assist applicants in identifying areas of practice to review in order to succeed on the exam, to aid applicants seeking reimbursement of certification fees, and to provide resources on accessing education and current evidence related to therapy practice in the NICU. The NTNCB encourages you to consider becoming a Certified Neonatal Therapist. Visit www.ntncb.com to access more information and resources.
On this one year anniversary of neonatal therapy certification, the NTNCB would like to thank the multidisciplinary board members, past and present, who have made neonatal therapy certification possible, as well as the talented neonatal therapists who have become certified or embarked on their journey toward certification. We look forward to seeing what the second year holds!
The annual NANT Conference is a great forum for all neonatal therapists to come together to share, learn, and collaborate. It is also a great opportunity to recognize CNTs. In order to be recognized as a Certified Neonatal Therapist at NANT 8, apply for certification by November 30th, 2017 and take the examination by March 31st, 2018.