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What specialized healthcare professionals will help my baby in the NICU?

In addition to doctors and nursing staff, there are a variety of other specialized professionals involved in your baby’s care in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU).
  • Under the supervision of a nurse, a certified nurse assistant (CNA) provides for your baby’s basic needs and reports on his condition to the nurse.
  • Unit clerks or health unit coordinators are the secretaries at the front desk of the NICU. They are responsible for answering general questions and screening visitors, and they can be a valuable source of information about your resources at the NICU.
  • Medical social workers are trained to listen to your concerns. They can help you make arrangements for lodging, insurance, and home healthcare. They can also provide support for grieving families.
  • Respiratory therapists are healthcare professionals trained in the care of your baby’s lungs. They work with infants with breathing problems and help manage the equipment that helps your baby breathe.
  • A pharmacist is a professional who specializes in preparing and delivering medications.
  • A developmental team -- which may include physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists -- can help your baby with movement, feeding, and other developmental issues that your baby may have.
  • A dietitian is a healthcare professional with special knowledge about the nutrients needed for an infant’s proper growth and development.
  • A lactation consultant is a healthcare provider with advanced training and certification in breastfeeding management. In the NICU, the lactation consultant is available to help nursing mothers establish and maintain a milk supply (by pumping) until the baby is ready to breastfeed. The consultant then helps mothers with the actual skill of breastfeeding.
  • Parent support coordinators are staff members who once had a baby cared for in the NICU. They can provide information, practical suggestions, and emotional support. They may also coordinate sibling hours and parent luncheons.
  • Case managers (also called discharge coordinators) help you plan to go home. They help you understand the equipment you will take home and any home care or hospice you need. They can also help with your insurance.
  • Clergy are representatives from various faiths who can support you during this time.
  • Other professionals may include a hearing specialist, wound care specialist, enterstomal specialist, or car seat squad.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.