A day in the life of a neonatal nurse practitioner

Gwendolyn Goguelet

UNH DNP Nursing student Amanda Koennecke

As a neonatal nurse practitioner with Albany Medical Center in New York, Amanda Koennecke (‘24G) treats many of the 800 babies admitted annually in their Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). While raising four children, she earned a master’s degree in neonatal health from Stony Brook University and a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) from UNH and she also teaches pediatrics at Russell Sage College.

Asked to describe a typical workday, Koennecke smiles while explaining that each shift presents unique challenges. On any given day, she manages the care of a baby in need or races to another site to offer safe transport to the NICU. She collaborates with her teammates on a mission to create a critical care protocol or holds a yoga session to encourage work-life integration among her healthcare peers. She attends a high risk birth with a resuscitation team to help give breath to a new life. Committed to a family-centered approach, Koennecke strives to empower parents to become active participants in their hospital experience.

From personal experience Koennecke understands the fear that prevails in the first weeks after a high-risk birth. Her greatest pleasure is marking developmental milestones as tiny infants grow, open their eyes to see for the first time and take a breath without assistance.

She says, “The team takes joy in watching the parents hold their baby. It is our honor to be present during this newly emerging family life.”

Deeply satisfied with her academic experience at UNH, Koennecke says the online DNP program exceeded her expectations. Leading a quality improvement project aimed at drafting guidelines for managing neonatal pulmonary hypertension, she evolved a multi-disciplinary approach to systems at a macro level.

“Based on my positive experience with the online DNP program, several colleagues enrolled at UNH, so we collectively benefit from sharing our mutual experiences and insights,” she says.

Ancient wisdom finds a bright thread in the work of Koennecke’s neonatal team. They understand that while it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to save a child.