8Sep

Navigating the COVID-19 Pandemic as a Neonatal Therapist

By Deanna Gibbs BAppSc(OT), MOT, PhD, CNT, NTNCB member

The last six months have brought immense changes across the world as we all adapt to living with the COVID-19 pandemic. Hospitals and health services have borne the brunt of many of these changes as we provide care for large volumes of people admitted with COVID-19. However, we have also seen these changes flow through to the neonatal intensive care unit environments.

Across the world, NICUs have implemented various changes to policy and practice to best protect infants, families and healthcare professionals, such as changes to parent presence guidelines and increased PPE requirements for caregivers and staff. In some centers, access to neonatal therapy has been restricted to urgent referrals only, therapists have been re-deployed to other acute care areas, and some staff have been temporarily furloughed.

As we learn to live with the restrictions required by the pandemic, what can you be doing as a neonatal therapist to ensure that your knowledge and practice remain reflective of the most recent neonatal science?

Here are five tips for you to consider:

1. Consider starting your journey towards certification as a neonatal therapist. Neonatal therapy certification is a process through which we both recognize and advance inter-professional neonatal therapy practice, using evidence-based certification standards of clinical experience and knowledge essential for the effective delivery of neonatal therapy. As the pandemic has restricted access to other forms of in-person continuing education learning, you could discuss the possibility of using your CE funds to support your application for certification. In our most recent round of CNTs, 78% of applicants received funding support from their employer for neonatal therapy certification.

If you are planning to submit an application for certification in the next 12 months, you are also welcome to join the ‘CNT Bound’ group on Facebook. This is a great way to get your questions answered, share study tips, and network with others.

2. Come and join like-minded neonatal therapists who are interested in learning more about how to judiciously read and appraise new neonatal therapy publications. The NTNCB is hosting a webinar on “How to Review a Scientific Article”. The webinar will be led by Dr Gail Poskey, PhD, OTR, CNT who will engage everyone in a lively discussion on all the parts of a scholarly publication. Please come and join our discussion on September 17th at 10am EST.

3. Did you participate in the NTNCB journal club in the Spring? Back by popular demand, we will again be hosting a journal club via Zoom this Fall every week for 6 weeks. Everyone is invited! Each week two publications relevant to neonatal therapy practice will be presented for the group to discuss and for us all to get a better understanding of new research and the implications for practice. Check out our Facebook post to see the line-up of evidence that will be discussed.

You can join our journal club webinars on Thursdays from September 24th to October 29th at 10am EST:

  • Link to the article abstract here.
  • Link to the Zoom call here. Meeting ID: 884 4474 1308

4. Did you know that once you apply to become a CNT, you receive access to a wealth of study materials including a comprehensive reference guide to help get you prepare for the certification exam? This is a marvelous resource to have at your fingertips both when working at the bedside and when preparing for your certification exam.

5. One of the highlights of becoming a CNT is that you will have access at your fingertips to all of the most recent publications that have implications for neonatal therapy practice. With new citations uploaded each month, this is a huge time saver for busy clinicians to keep abreast of emerging evidence.

There are now 455 Certified Neonatal Therapists practicing across the globe. If you would like to become part of this tribe, the next application cycle will be open September 15th – November 15th 2020.

For more information visit www.ntncb.com

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