The health care team meets daily at the bedside to discuss your baby’s condition, progress, and to make a plan of care for the day. We encourage participation in “multidisciplinary rounds” by asking questions or clarifying the plan of care.
A variety of pediatric specialists may be called upon to diagnose or treat some medical conditions of babies in the NICU. The following are some of the health care providers and consultants who may be involved in your baby’s care:
- Assistant Nurse Manager (ANM) - A neonatal nurse who coordinates the day-to-day activities in the NICU.
- Audiologist - Specializes in hearing disorders and will administer a test to screen your baby’s hearing. Hearing greatly affects the ability to take in information, to socialize, and to learn.
Chaplain (Pastoral Care Department) - Specially trained to provide spiritual support, comfort, or counseling. They can help you or your clergy with arrangements for services such as baptism, prayer services, etc.
- Cardiologist - A pediatrician who has additional training in caring for babies and children with heart-related problems.
- Care coordinator - A neonatal nurse who coordinates your orientation/introduction to the NICU and your baby’s health care team. Along with other members of the health care team, the Care coordinator assists with parent conferences, learning experiences, referrals, and discharge preparation. The care coordinator also acts as a liaison between your insurance company and the hospital.
- Developmental specialist - A registered nurse or physical, occupational or speech therapist specializing in the growth, development, and behavior of babies. They teach and work with parents, families, and staff to meet your baby’s developmental needs.
- Geneticist - A doctor who evaluates babies with birth defects and congenital problems, in addition to counseling families who have potential risk of passing on inherited medical problems.
- Home health nurse - A registered nurse who will make home follow-up visits after your baby is discharged. She will assist you and your family in transitioning your baby into the home environment.
- Lactation consultant - A health care professional who is specially trained to observe, assist, and advise breastfeeding mothers. She can assist you in learning to use a breast pump and instruct you in how to collect, store, and transport your breastmilk. She will also help you with the transition from pumping to breast feeding. Ask your baby’s nurse for assistance in contacting the lactation consultant.
- Manager - A neonatal nurse who coordinates the 24 hour nursing operations of the NICU.
- Neonatologist - A pediatrician who has additional training in caring for sick and preterm babies will provide and coordinate medical care between your baby’s private doctor, the residents, the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, and any medical consultants your baby needs. The neonatologist can explain your baby’s condition, test results, and treatment plans.
Neonatology fellow - A pediatrician who is receiving additional training in caring for sick and preterm babies and assists the neonatologist in providing and coordinating your baby’s medical care.
- Neonatal nurse (RN) - A registered nurse who is specially trained to provide care for the sick or preterm baby in the NICU. The neonatal nurse thoroughly assesses your baby, plans and implements nursing care, and continuously evaluates its effectiveness. Your nurse can help you understand the equipment and treatments being used for your baby, as well as the role of other medical staff involved in your baby’s care.
- Neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP) - Advanced practice registered nurse who has additional schooling in a master's or doctoral program. They work in collaboration with the neonatologists to provide comprehensive critical care to the infants in the NICU. The NNP provides medical management and coordinates medical care for neonatal patients and can also explain your baby’s condition, treatment plan, and test results.
- Neurologist - A doctor who evaluates and treats problems of the nervous system.
- Registered dietitian - A registered dietician assists the neonatologist in the management of the nutritional needs of premature babies.
- Occupational therapist (OT) - Specially trained to work with NICU babies in the areas of alertness, positioning and feeding abilities. They are also involved in parent education.
- Ophthalmologist - A doctor who examines a baby’s eyes for problems that may affect vision.
- Patient care assistant - A specially trained technician who helps provide care to NICU babies under the direct supervision of the nurse (RN). They assist in breast milk/formula preparation for your baby.
- Pediatrician - A doctor who has special training in the care of babies and children.
- Pharmacist - Prepares medications for your baby and provides information about medications to parents and the health care team.
- Physical therapist (PT) - Specially trained to work with NICU babies in the areas of muscle tone, movement patterns, head shape and range of motion. They are also involved in parent education.
- Resident - A doctor who has finished medical school and is training to become a pediatrician or other specialist. Under the guidance of your baby’s doctor and/or neonatologist, the resident can coordinate, provide and explain your baby’s medical care and test results to you.
- Radiologist - A doctor who reads and interprets x-rays, ultrasounds, CAT scans and MRIs.
- Respiratory therapist - Specially trained and licensed to provide a full range of respiratory care including oxygen therapy, breathing treatments, and ventilator support.
- Social worker - Specially trained to support people dealing with stressful or difficult times in their lives. Social workers can provide parents with referrals or information about hospital and community programs and resources. Social Workers also help families make the transition from the NICU to home.
- Speech Therapist - a therapist who works with NICU babies in the area of feeding abilities. They are also involved in parent education.
- Unit coordinator - A receptionist who coordinates communications between you and your baby’s nurse.