News & Updates
Resource Finder at Kennedy Krieger Institute
A free resource that provides access to information and support for individuals and families living with developmental disabilities.
Tami W. Swearingen, BSN, MA, LNCC, Senior Vice President of Nursing Patient Services
Nursing Administration Phone:
Phone: (443) 923-9430
Fax: (443) 923-4253
Phone: (443) 923-2620
Phone: (443) 923-4558
Professional Certifying Organizations:
- Maryland Nurses Association (MNA)
- Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (State and National) (ARN)
- Pediatric Society of Nurses
- National Association of Pediatric Nurse Associates and Practitioners (NAPNAP)
- American Nurses Credentialing Center
- Case Management Society of America
- Association of School Health Nurses (State and National)
- Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. (APIC)
- Registered Nurse - Pediatric Certification (RN-C)
- Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse (CRRN)
- Certified Case Management (CCM)
- Certified Infection Control (CIC)
- Nurse Psychotherapist (CS-P)
Nursing staff are licensed or certified by the State of Maryland (or the Consortium of State Boards) as the following:
- Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP)
- Registered Nurse (RN)
- Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
- Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
- Geriatric Nursing Assistant (GNA)
All Pediatric Nurse Practitioners at Kennedy Krieger Institute (KKI) are graduates from schools accredited by the National League for Nurses and the respective State Board of Nursing. In addition, each practitioner has an individual physician agreement with an assigned physician. All licensed practical nurses, registered nurses and pediatric nurse practitioners have graduated from schools accredited by the National League for Nurses and the respective State Board of Nursing.
All Certified Nursing Assistants and Geriatric Nursing Assistants have completed a course approved by the State Board of Maryland.
In collaboration with the medical staff, KKI's nursing staff works towards stabilizing, maintaining and improving the health of patients seen in the various programs served at the Institute. In addition, the nursing staff is a vital part of the interdisciplinary team of professionals that assists the patient and family to optimize wellness, prevent further disabilities and, as needed, adapt to a changed lifestyle. Nurses assist with pre-admission assessment, evaluation and treatment and discharge planning for patients seen in the inpatient unit and outpatient clinics. Nurses prepare the family for discharge by arranging for equipment needed at home, follow-up appointments for ongoing nursing, therapy, physician and clinic visits.
Prior to admission, a nurse case manager reviews the patient's medical history and family goals for the admission and begins to coordinate the inpatient treatment plan. Upon admission, each patient is assigned a primary nurse. In conjunction with the inpatient treatment team, the nursing staff works with the patient and family to develop the nursing plan of care, which guides the nursing care throughout the admission. The nursing staff monitors the progress toward the goals outlined on the nursing care plan and adjusts the interventions to assist the patient and family in achieving the goals of the admission. During the entire inpatient stay, licensed nurses are assigned to the patient 24 hours a day to perform the interventions on and make adjustments to the patient's plan of care as indicated by the patient's medical condition. The licensed nurse is responsible for assessing the patient’s condition, administering medications, performing treatments, obtaining lab specimens, implementing interdisciplinary team protocols and discharge teaching. The licensed nurses are assisted by certified nursing assistants. Together, they maintain the patient in a safe environment, assist the patient with daily hygiene needs, eliminate pain and discomfort and help the patient and family to be as comfortable as possible in the hospital environment. Pediatric nurse practitioners (PNP) are also assigned to patients admitted on the inpatient unit. The PNP works in collaboration with the attending physician to provide the daily medical management and oversight to achieve the goals of admission, and to assure a coordinated discharge back to the community and referring physician. Nurses work on every inpatient unit, including:
- Pediatric Rehabilitation Unit (PRU)
- Pediatric Feeding Disorders Unit (PFDU)
- Neurobehavioral Unit (NBU)
Some nurses assigned to the inpatient rehabilitation and feeding continuum serve as clinical care managers. Their role is to facilitate a patient's admission, ongoing stay and discharge plan by working with the family, team members, referral sources and payors.
Nurses assigned to various outpatient clinics possess expert knowledge related to the disease entity and treatment needs of the patients seen in these clinics. The nurse educates the family on the specific medications and treatments and serves as a resource to members of the community who may interact with the patient and family. A clinical nurse is assigned to the following clinics:
- Spina Bifida
- Phelps/Movement Disorders Clinic
- NICU Follow-up Clinic
- Feeding and Swallowing Disorders Clinic
- Environmental Health Clinic
- Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD)
- Outpatient Psychiatry
- Center for Development and Learning (CDL)
In addition to these nurses, three core outpatient nurses are available on a daily basis to triage, perform assessments and procedures and serve as overall resources to the patient and family who are seen in all of the medical clinics. Some nurses work as clinical care managers in the outpatient areas to ensure that KKI's international, out-of-state and local patients are appropriately triaged to the correct specialists and that the patients' visits are well coordinated. Each of these nurses has an expertise in a variety of pediatric disabilities and very autonomous roles that are integral to the success of the patient's stay.
As part of the Specialized Transition Program (STP), nurses prepare students to incorporate medical treatments into their school day. Nurses assigned to the STP assist the student in becoming more independent in self-care needs and educate the student in health-related activities. Upon discharge, the STP nurse communicates to the community school nurse the student's needs and abilities, enabling the treatment plan to continue in the community setting. KKI nurses also serve as team members at the Kennedy Krieger School, Life Skills and Education for Autism and Pervasive Development Disorder (LEAP) and the Discovery Program. Nurses participate in the students' daily activities while at school. Nurses administer and monitor the effects of a variety of medications and complete a variety of medical treatments, such as: cleaning intermittent catheterization, obtaining blood samples for drug monitoring and administering first aid when needed. Nurses are a vital component of the school programs in identifying ways to keep students in a safe environment and serving as a resource to other faculty on health-related issues.
The nursing department participates in the Kennedy Krieger/Johns Hopkins Maternal and Child Health Bureau/LEND training program. The nursing department provides educational opportunities for students at the following colleges and universities: Anne Arundel Community College-AA and EMT programs; Johns Hopkins School of Nursing-BSN and MSN programs; University of Maryland School of Nursing-BSN and MSN programs, Coppin State College-BSN program.
Nurses at KKI participate in research to advance knowledge and science related to the care of children with disabilities in a spectrum of areas. Research nurses assume responsibility for coordinating the necessary specialized tests and doctor's appointments, for collecting information that is part of the research protocol and for assisting the family while participating in the research protocol. Also, KKI nurses are involved in a variety of research-related activities including journal clubs, performance improvement and research utilization committees and projects and research conferences.
Community Training/Technical Assistance:
The Nursing Department serves as a training center for American Heart Association Basic Life Support. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) classes are held twice a month. The training center offers infant, child and adult heartsaver classes, as well as a healthcare provider class.
The Specialized Health Needs Interagency Collaboration (SHNIC) provides on-site training and technical assistance to personnel from schools and community service programs throughout Maryland at no cost. Combining the expertise of KKI and other local hospitals with resources of the Maryland State Departments of Education and the State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, SHNIC provides school staff and community service professionals with the skills they need to safely and effectively manage the integration of children and adolescents with specialized health needs into educational settings.