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Neonatal therapy certification marks career of dedication to NICU

For Denise Nickleson, achieving the title Certified Neonatal Therapist (CNT) is about more than letters after a name. It’s having the skills and knowledge to advance best practice within the NICU at Baptist Women’s Hospital.

“I can’t think of any other area of medicine that has such a lasting impact on a life as neonatal medicine,” says Denise. “For me, while that is a tremendous responsibility, it also provides the greatest passion and job satisfaction to be able to improve outcomes and quality of life for infants and their families.”

Denise is one of only three CNTs in Tennessee and approximately 180 in the world. Requirements for neonatal therapy certification include a minimum of three years as a credentialed professional (physical therapist, occupational therapist or speech-language pathologist), 3,500 hours of experience in the NICU, 40 hours of education about NICU-specific content within the last three years, 40 hours of mentored experiences, and a passing score on the Neonatal Therapy National Certification Examination.

“Basically, I am a lifelong learner and am passionate about staying current in the ever-changing world of neonatal medicine through memberships in national neonatal associations and attending national neonatal conferences,” says Denise.  “I am incredibly blessed to spend my time doing what I love. It will never be a job to me!”