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Special Topic Course: Debunking NICU Myths with Evidence and Finesse.

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The content of this course will be available until October 1, 2021.

Speakers: Shannon Usher, MSOT, OTR/L, NTMTC
Kara Ann Waitzman, BS, OTR/L, CNT, NTMTC
Shannon UsherKara Ann Waitzman

Topic: Debunking NICU Myths with Evidence and Finesse.

Course Description: Healthcare should be driven by evidenced-based medicine, quality improvement, safety initiatives, and best practice. However, “That’s the way we’ve always done it” is a mantra heard around the world and is used as a crutch to perpetuate false, antiquated, or unsafe caregiving practices. Whether initiated by grandparents, parents, or healthcare providers, myths surrounding baby care are abundant and prevail in NICUs. This presentation will identify typical NICU Myths related to areas such as feeding, positioning, and development. For example, “Breastfeeding is harder than bottle-feeding”, or “Elevated positioning is recommended to prevent GER” are myths that not only limit optimal outcomes for infants and families, but inhibit progress in further neuroprotective care strategies. The most common NICU Myths were gathered via survey from NANT members and supplement more than 20 myths that will be debunked with current research and literature for course attendees. But evidence is only part of the solution. What about the crucial conversations with the medical staff, NICU managers, nurses, or other therapists where there are opposing opinions, strong emotions and high stakes? The concept of motivational interviewing and crucial conversations will also be introduced, outlined, and demonstrated to help passionate neonatal professionals persevere in their effort to provide high quality, safe, and evidence-based caregiving practices in their NICU. Armed with the knowledge, research, and verbiage to take on NICU myths, Neonatal professionals will leave this presentation better prepared to serve the infants and families in their care while achieving a high level of respect and admiration from the healthcare team for their finesse in debunking NICU myths. A handout will also be provided with the references for debunking each myth to support NICU professionals’ return to their units.

Speaker Bio: Shannon Usher, MSOT, OTR/L, NTMTC graduated with honors from Washington University School of Medicine, earning her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy. Shannon is a certified Neonatal Therapist and is certified in Neonatal Touch & Massage. She has been practicing in the NICU since beginning her professional career and currently works in a large Level III NICU in Colorado. She also participates in the Infant Developmental Assessment Clinic with Children’s Hospital Colorado.

Shannon has presented nationally on numerous topics related to neuroprotective caregiving in the NICU. She is a Clinical Consultant and CE Administrator with Creative Therapy Consultants. Shannon has completed developmental follow-up assessments for a National Institute of Health research study, served on the March of Dimes Program Services Board and volunteered with Junior League of Colorado Springs.

Kara Ann Waitzman, BS, OTR/L, CNT, NTMTC has been a neonatal therapist for over 30 years at a level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where she assisted with the 60 bed single family room NICU design, initiated and maintains the developmental care and therapy program, and serves as the nursery’s developmental specialist. She previously served on the AWHONN Continuum of Care Advisory Board and Power of Touch Committee, the NANT Professional Collaborative and Conference Planning Committees, and currently serves on both the March of Dimes Program Services and the Pampers Womb to World Advisory Board. Kara Ann is a Certified Neonatal Therapist, and is certified in NDT, NIDCAP and Neonatal Touch & Massage.

She is president of Creative Therapy Consultants and has been a nationally sought after speaker, educator, and consultant for almost two decades. She is founder of the Neonatal Touch & Massage Certification® (NTMC), and original co-founder of Infant-Driven Feeding.

Kara Ann has received professional awards including the Ohio Occupational Therapy Pediatric Model of Practice Award, the March of Dimes Healthcare Worker of the Year Award, the MVH
Excellence in Service Award, and the NANT Inaugural Pioneer Award.

0-16 min: Discuss how to utilize crucial conversations in the NICU
16-21 min: Discuss how to utilize motivational interviewing techniques
21-26 min: Integration of crucial conversations and motivational interviewing into the NICU
26-56 min: Identify, discuss, and debunk 8 caregiving practices not based on current evidence
56-59 min: Wrap up and take home message
59-62 min: Learning assessment

Shannon Usher, MSOT, OTR/L, NTMTC
Financial Disclosures: Consultant for Creative Therapy Consultants.
Nonfinancial disclosures: No relevant disclosures.

Kara Ann Waitzman, BS, OTR/L, CNT, NTMTC
Financial Disclosures: President, Creative Therapy Consultants, Founder, Neonatal Touch and Massage Certification, Pamper Womb World Advisory Board.
Nonfinancial disclosures: Member, March of Dimes Program Services.

Conflict of Interest: There is no conflict of interest for anyone with the ability to control content for this activity.

Target Audience: OT, SLP, PT, RN, MD and Neonatal professionals

Level: Intermediate


  1. Recognize three traditional NICU myths that are not based on current evidence.
  2. Identify three evidence-based caregiving activities that can be incorporated into NICU practice after debunking the associated myth.
  3. Name the 4 components in the Path to Action for Crucial Conversations.

Instructional Method: Recorded webinar with lecture, videos and handouts. Learning assessment and course evaluation follow course.

Course Completion Requirements: The learner must view the entire webinar, complete the course evaluation and complete the post webinar learning assessment with at least 80% to receive education credit. Login and logout times will be recorded and documented.
Following completion of this course physical therapists, nurses and other disciplines will receive a certificate of completion and a zip file containing information necessary to submit to their individual state for education credit. Zip file will include course bibliography. Physical therapists are responsible for knowing and adhering to their state’s deadlines, rules and regulations.

Registration information:

In order to obtain access to the course, click the “Buy now” button at the top of the screen.

For ADA accommodations, please call NANT Customer Service for more information at (866) 999-5524.

Cancellation Policy: Click HERE to review NANT’s Course Cancellation Policy.


Continuing Education Information


AOTA CEUs: National Association of Neonatal Therapists® (NANT) is an AOTA Approved Provider of professional development. This Distance-Learning Independent Course is offered at 0.1 CEUs (Intermediate level, Occupational Therapy Service Delivery & Professional Issues). AOTA does not endorse specific course content, products, or clinical procedures.

ASHA CEUs: Learners must complete the entire course in order to receive ASHA CEUs. No partial credit awarded. ASHA CE Provider approval and use of the Brand Block does not imply endorsement of course content, specific products or clinical procedures.
ASHA CE Registry users: NANT will submit your ASHA CEU credit to ASHA on your behalf. ASHA CEUs may take up to 100 days to appear on your ASHA Transcript.

Non-ASHA CE Registry users: Maintain your course records and please keep your registry status current in your NANT account. Update your NANT account with your ASHA number if your registry status changes. NANT is not responsible for tracking your registry usage.

PT CE Credit: This activity has been approved by the Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners for 1.00 CCUs for PTs and PTAs.
NANT is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Physical Therapy as an approved provider of physical therapy and physical therapist assistant continuing education.

Nursing Contact Hours: This nursing continuing professional development activity was approved by the Ohio Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation (OBN-001-91) Activity # 22618. Contact Hours: 1.0. Approval valid through 10/01/2021.

Questions regarding CE credit should be directed to the National Association of Neonatal Therapists at [email protected] or (866) 999-5524.

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