To see more patients, both adult and children, the Pediatric Neurosurgery Department at M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital recently expanded its staff and the hours they work. A member of the department for almost eight years, Certified Nurse Practitioner Leah Kann, APRN, CNP, is now working fulltime. “That allows me to add additional clinics and lets me follow up more with patients and their families,” she said.

The department also added Emma Venteicher, who works three days a week. Venteicher earned her MS as a Family Nurse Practitioner from Georgetown University in Washington, DC, which enables her to see adult patients. She was most recently a member of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center/Mercy Hospital School of Nursing Clinical Faculty, teaching nursing students in the clinical and classroom setting. Prior to that, she spent many years as a Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit-Registered Nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Provides more continuity
“Having Emma on the team provides more continuity with pre and post-surgery care of our adult patients, giving us one person to manage everything,” explained Kann. The pediatric team treats adults with brain or pituitary tumors, hydrocephalus, Chiari malformations, and tethered spinal cords – “many of the same conditions you’d see in pediatrics,” said Kann. “The conditions come with the comorbidities found in adults, which complicates things. While we have complex pediatric patients, I feel that our adults are even more complex.”

Venteicher and Kann are the first to see any patients that come through the department, both regularly scheduled and emergency. “We triage them to figure out what they need,” said Kann. “The less complex cases we take care of ourselves; otherwise, we determine imaging requirements and then assign them to a surgeon.”

Like Kann, Venteicher supports pediatric neurosurgeons Daniel Guillaume, MD; Carolina Sandoval, MD; and Cornelius Lam, MD, PhD. “I will eventually have my own clinics,” she noted. Venteicher sees patients at both the M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital and its pediatric clinics.

Energetic approach
Venteicher’s energetic approach to her work extends beyond patient care. “I love education and providing quality, compassionate care for our patients and families,” she said. “I also hope to get involved in clinical research to help continuously improve patient care and outcomes.”

Venteicher came to Minnesota when her husband, Andrew Venteicher, MD, PhD, was hired by the U’s Neurosurgery Department in August 2019. “Where he goes, we will follow,” she said of herself and the couple’s two children. The family enjoys living in the Gopher State. “We love being outdoors, hiking and exploring all of the parks and lakes,” said Venteicher.

With expanded staffing, Kann is hopeful that the department may also be able to add clinics. “We’re looking into opening another plagiocephaly clinic in the Maplewood, MN, area,” she said. “It’s exciting to be able to give our patients better, more accessible care by having more providers available and providers who can see both children and adults.”