There are many different members of the health care team that you may meet in the NICU. Besides a bedside nurse, every baby has a NICU medical team managing the overall care of your baby. Each team is supervised by an attending neonatologist. Below is some basic information on the other members of your health care team.
Attending Neonatologists: Doctors who specialize in the care of newborns (neonates).
Chaplains: Give emotional and spiritual support to families and patients of all faiths and
Clinical Leaders and Charge Nurses: Senior staff members who are able to take care of any problems or concerns.
Fellows: Doctors that are training to be neonatologists.
Lactation Team: Trained to help you reach your breastfeeding goals and answer any pumping/breastfeeding questions.
Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN): A nurse who works under the supervision of an RN to provide direct patient care. LPNs give much of the same care as RNs, except they do not give IV medicines.
Neonatal Nurse Practitioners (NNP): A nurse who has finished advanced graduate education and training. A NNP can help the Attending Neonatologists and Pediatric Surgeons treat babies and perform certain procedures.
Nurse Case Managers: Registered Nurses who provide care coordination for you and your baby while you are at the hospital. They will also help with the discharge process.
Nutritionists /Dieticians: Make sure babies are getting the right amount of calories and nutrients for the best growth and development. They will also give nutrition education for special diet needs.
Occupational Therapists (O.T.) and Physical Therapists (P.T.): Focus on babies’ movements and motor development. An O.T. may also help with feeding and oral stimulation.
Parent Advisors: Other parents who have had babies in the NICU. They give emotional support to families. Also, they lead the weekly Parent Pizza Night.
Patient Care Assistants (PCA): Also known as Patient Support Assistant (PSA), they work under the supervision of an RN. They can take vital signs, perform heel sticks, give baths, and feed babies.
Pharmacists: Help the doctor prescribe drugs for your baby. They also watch how well the drugs work for your baby and make sure the drug levels are right in the blood.
Registered Nurses (RN): Nurses who specialize in the nursing care of your baby. They assess your baby’s condition and progress and carry out the doctor’s orders. The RN will tell the doctor or NNP if there are any changes in your baby’s condition.
Residents: Doctors who are training to become pediatricians (a doctor who cares for children).
Respiratory Therapists: Manage and adjust the ventilators and other breathing equipment. They perform treatments that help with breathing and lung function.
Social Workers: Give emotional support, crisis intervention, information on community resources, and help with communication between families and the medical team.
Unit Clerks: Often the first people you meet when you enter the NICU. They answer the phone when you call to check on your baby and take care of many of the NICU’s administrative needs.
Volunteers: NICU volunteers have attended special training, and they help with many different tasks in the unit. They can hold and rock babies (if you wish) when parents are not able to.