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Hemby Children's Hospital
Team member washing baby's face

Staff and their roles

get in sync with your caregivers

Get to know our NICU staff

The medical team that looks after your baby in the NICU includes many people who provide important and specialized services.

Primary nurse: Your primary nurse advocates for your baby and works to make your infant’s stay and your visits more comfortable. Make sure your primary nurse understands your expectations. Most parents have preferences on parenting style and types of care they would choose for their babies. For example, you may want to discuss breastfeeding versus a bottle for feeding, the use of pacifiers or family traditions and beliefs. Your child’s condition is the primary consideration, so keep an open mind, and communicate openly and honestly with the medical team.

You have options for working with primary nurses. Get to know the nurses and decide who you think would be a good fit for your child and your family. You can choose two to three nurses across day and night shifts. Ask those nurses if they would consider being your baby’s primary nurse, if available. There may be days or times when the primary nurses you chose are busy with other roles and will not be available to care for your infant. However, the primary nurse will check in with you and make sure things are going well.

Others on your baby’s care team often include:

  • Neonatologist: Specializes in acute care for newborns and infants. A neonatologist is in the NICU 24 hours a day. A neonatology team works with the hospital staff to care for premature and critically-ill newborns, as well as healthy infants in the newborn nursery_
  • Neonatal nurse practitioner: Works with physicians to oversee care for your baby. The nurse practitioner will see your baby daily. A neonatal nurse practitioner is in the hospital 24 hours a day.
  • Bedside nurse: Provides direct care to babies in the NICU.
  • Team lead: Is available to address your questions and concerns. Also known as the charge nurse, the team lead supports the bedside nurse.
  • Admission/delivery nurse: Attends high-risk deliveries and admits babies to the unit after delivery.
  • Physical, speech and occupational therapists: Specially trained to work with premature and critically ill infants and their families. They assist with positioning and handling of infants to ensure comfort, body alignment, good movement patterns, sleep and self-soothing. Therapists also track developmental milestones and implement activities to improve motor, sensory and cognitive skills. They work in conjunction with nursing and families to develop strategies for feeding as well. The therapists will be available to discuss your infant’s needs and to make recommendations for therapy if needed after discharge.
  • Respiratory therapist: Works closely with nursing team (attends high-risk deliveries) and our transport team, and manages babies who are receiving oxygen therapy.
  • Lactation consultant: Provides information about breastfeeding while taking medication, increasing milk supply, milk storage, feeding and pumping milk. Also can offer tips on successful breastfeeding during and after your hospital stay.