Nurse thinking of others with app

Ring the doorbell at the home of Anna and Michael Wroble in North Las Vegas and soon four pairs of little eyes stare out between the living room window blinds.

"Mommy, somebody's at the door," the cries of children ring out.

Soon after Anna Wroble comes to the door, she proudly introduces her four little girls: Gabrielle, 7, Baylee, 5, Brooklyn, 4, and Kaydee, 2.

As curly haired Kaydee shyly says "Hi" and shows off her teddy bear, the young mother just has to hug and kiss her.

The more you learn about Wroble as a mother - she home-schools her girls - and as a registered nurse - she cares for premature infants in a neonatal intensive care unit - the more it seems natural that she be the one to change how thousands of expectant and new parents gain information about childbirth and caring for newborns.

"I think being a mother has made me a better nurse," Wroble said as she stood near a table where she worked on an idea for an app for smartphones and tablets that presents videos and data that include information on each stage of a baby's growth. "One of my children was in a neonatal unit and another was in a pediatric intensive care unit, so I know how stressful times can be for new parents," she said.

Several months ago, the 32-year-old nurse at the St. Rose Dominican Hospitals-Siena Campus decided to take part in the "Green Light Challenge," in which Dignity Health, the nation's fifth-largest hospital chain and owner of three St. Rose hospitals in Las Vegas and Henderson, asked for ideas from staff and volunteers at 40 hospitals to improve patient care.

Wroble had noted that parents with children in the neonatal intensive care unit were very reliant on their phones and mobile tablets. She said she realized that if a suitable app could be developed, it would help parents even before an infant was admitted.

"I know how terrifying it is to trust someone else with the life of your child, and parents feel they have lost all control. This app could give control back to them through education," Wroble said.

Wroble's idea, according to Jennifer McDonnell, director of communications at St. Rose, was seen as so potentially helpful to patients that both Dignity Health and the Children's Miracle Network backed it with $50,000 grants.

Tom Tancredi, of New York-based Dom&Tom, the app developer bringing Wroble's idea to life, said it's unique. "I showed it to doctors at the Mayo Clinic and they want it," he said. "It's interactive, a lot to it."

Parents of a child in the neonatal intensive care unit can enter the weight of their child on the app, and it's placed on a graph to show how the baby is progressing. There is a section on proper breast-feeding, and moms can track breast-feeding and pumping. They also can track appointments with doctors.

There are interviews with St. Rose doctors and staff who will be caring for babies and video tours showing where babies are cared for at St. Rose. There are mapping tools so parents can find hospitals in emergencies.

Another Dignity hospital in Arizona is now doing something similar there, and McDonnell said chances are excellent all Dignity hospitals and their patients will soon be benefiting from Wroble's idea.

For Wroble, the app is yet another way to ensure she and her colleagues give each family the best care possible.

"I see nursing as a calling," she said. "To have found another way to help my patients and their families is an honor."

Contact reporter Paul Harasim at pharasim@review or 702-387-2908.