Wakako Eklund, DNP APRN NNP-BC FAANP
Disclosures: Paid consultant-Proctor & Gabmle|Membership on Advisory Committees or Review Panels, Board Membership, etc.-Vermont Oxford Network - 12/24/2021

Wakako Eklund, DNP, APRN, NNP-BC

I am a native of Japan and earned BSN in the U.S. in '91. Remained in the US and pursued various nursing positions from ER, Cardiothoracic ICU, transplant ICU, then finally to NICU. My passion for babies began. After several years in NICU, I completed my graduate education in NNP track in 2002 at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. I completed DNP at Northeastern University in Boston, MA in 2014. My DNP project involved a global survey regarding the neonatal nurse or NNP roles in 18 countries (similarities and differences in scope of practice, regulation or education) as well as conducting a qualitative project to study the challenges and issues specific to neonatal nursing globally by holding a focus group while at COINN conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 2013. The qualitative work was represented by members from 11 countries.

I have enjoyed a career as an NNP at a very busy Pediatrix practice in Nashville, TN since 2003, providing services to multiple large and mid-size NICUs (currently eight facilities, level ll-lll), while at the same time, participating in neonatal education for the community (NRP, S.T.A.B.L.E). Academically, outside of clinical role with Pediatrix, I have held affiliate appointments at Vanderbilt (ended in 2019), Northeastern University in Boston MA (current) and LA Tech university in Ruston, LA (current) sharing the experience-based expertise to each program. I served as a NNP clinical preceptor and provided lectures when needed at Vanderbilt University, and currently advise DNP students at Northeastern University. LA Tech affiliation was with the Bio-Medical Engineering department and I provided the clinical expertise to various projects for faculty, senior projects and also graduate students at master and PhD level. Guiding the students who had never seen actual patients in NICU and to support them to develop a new technologies or devices with small patients in mid was highly rewarding.


I crossed paths with the Japanese medical and nursing community during the last 10 plus years as well. I am an active member of Advance Practice Nursing Special Interest Group in Japan. I was honored to Co-Edit the first comprehensive Japanese Neonatal Nursing Text book in 2013 partnering with a Japanese Neonatal experts. I have presented numerous times in Japan on topics such as Advance Practice Nursing, Neonatal Care (various topics) and I have published numerous articles in Japanese medical and nursing Journals (both peer reviewed and invited). I am also serving as an adjunct or guest lecturer at multiple universities both at the BSN program and advance practice programs at the master’s level.


Professionally, I am active at several professional organizations including the National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN), National Association of Neonatal Nurse Practitioners, and the board of Advances in Neonatal Care (NANN official journal). I represent NANN to the International Neonatal Consortium which was launched in 2015 to accelerate and promote the neonatal specific therapy development to advocate for the forgotten group of patients. In addition to the neonatal specific organizations, I am a member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. As a member of the International NP/APN SIG, I actively engage with the national and global members to advance NP/APN role.

Internationally, I have been active at the Council of International Neonatal Nurses for years to bridge the neonatal members in Japan to connect globally. I have served on the board of the Council of International Neonatal Nurses since 2019. I was the recipient of the COINN Neonatal Nurse Award in 2019.

My other passion is equity and diversity issues. I am serving as a member of the Vermont Oxford Network Diversity and Equity Advisory Board.

Disclosure: I have served as a consultant for the P&G global team since 2017 and this is still on-going. Primarily participating in designing educational opportunities for nurses and other neonatal professionals in Japan, supporting the Research & Development efforts, or actively conducting research in Japan.