NEONATAL INTENSIVE CARE UNIT
OUR DOCTORS & STAFF
Our NICU team includes highly trained nurses and supportive staff, board-certified Neonatologist, who are pediatricians with advanced training in the care of premature and critically ill newborns. The NICU encourages families to be the principal caregivers for their babies. Families are welcome to join the care team on rounds and work with staff to be involved in the development of care plans.
JEFFREY WALKER, MD, PHD
Attending, Pediatric Hospital Medicine
SARAH W. CHENG, C-PNP
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
MARIA CORTES, NNP-B
CNeonatal Nurse Practitioner
WEI-FEN DEN, C-NNP, CNS
Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
DEBORAH JONES, C-NNP, CNS
Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
MARINA KOFMAN, C-PNP
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
Staff Neonatologists are full time physicians who are specially trained and certified in Perinatal-Neonatal Medicine. In addition to providing clinical care in the NICU, staff neonatologists serve as teachers, researchers, and complete quality improvement and administrative duties.
Hospitalists are physicians with special training and certification in pediatrics who serve as primary care providers in the NICU.
NEONATAL NURSE PRACTITIONERS (NNPS)
NNPs are registered nurses with clinical experience in neonatal nursing who have received a master's degree with supervised clinical experience in the management of sick newborns and their families. The NNPs care for neonates with consultation, collaboration, and general supervision by a neonatologist. The NNPs exercise independent judgment in assessment, diagnosis, initiation of medical procedures, and evaluations, consistent with state nurse practice laws, institutional guidelines, and the NNP's education and experience. In addition, NNPs are involved in education and medical research.
Neonatal dietitians are responsible for assessing the nutritional needs of high risk pre-term and term infants, developing nutrition care plans, making recommendations to the medical team as needed to optimize growth and treat nutrition-related conditions including intrauterine growth restriction, necrotizing enterocolitis, hyperbilirubinemia, osteopenia of prematurity, and inborn errors of metabolism. This includes close monitoring of the adequacy and composition of infant feeding and nutrition support, route of feeding, tolerance, lab values, drug-nutrient interactions, and growth. The neonatal dietitian is an active participant of the multidisciplinary team and serves on the Neonatal Nutrition Support Team. The NICU dietitian also provides recommendations for discharge nutrition needs.
The VMC NICU nursing staff includes nurses, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and a Neonatal Educator. NICU nurses not only take empathic care of NICU patients, but also are involved in nursing education, research, and NICU administration. The NICU at VMC has a nurse manager and an assistant nurse manager working every shift (Zeniah Andres, RNC, MBA, Gloria Micotti, RNC, and Faviola DelReal, RNC). Members of our nursing staff enjoy their work; most stay on the team for an average of twelve years. This long tenure cultivates a close working environment and a well-seasoned and experienced staff.
A Primary Nurse is assigned to infants who are expected to stay in the NICU for more than 2 weeks. Primary nurses develop lasting relationships with families as they take time to get to know their primary babies more intimately and take on the role of advocate for their patients. Primary nurses also often serve as a liaison between the NICU staff and the baby's family.
MEDICAL UNIT CLERKS
The Medical Unit Clerks greet families when they enter the NICU and help ensure the NICU runs smoothly. They relay messages to staff and coordinate services and messages for the NICU, including working with Pharmacy, Radiology, Laboratory, and external consultants and community pediatricians.
Respiratory therapists are key members of the newborn resuscitation team who care for babies with special needs,
from the moment of their delivery until they leave the hospital. Respiratory therapists help babies breathe and maintain the NICU's respiratory support equipment, including ventilators and other positive pressure equipment. Working closely with families, nurses, and physicians, NICU therapists ensure that procedures such as intubations, extubations, and ventilatory transitions go smoothly.
The NICU pharmacist ensures that medication choices are optimal for NICU patients. They verify doses, check for medication interactions and allergies, and help prevent medication errors. They also educate neonatal staff about pharmacology and medication information.
Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists provide early intervention for infant development. They ensure proper positioning of the infants to promote sleep, comfort, and normal muscle and bone alignment. Physical Therapists facilitate normal movement patterns and help infants integrate the many sensory inputs of the NICU environment, such as touch, noise, and lights to minimize stress. Therapists also assist infants and families with feeding positions and teaching caregivers about preterm development, range of motion exercise and the importance of therapeutic massage.
When your baby is admitted to the NICU, it is a stressful time for both baby and family. Amelia Lum is our NICU's social worker and works close with families. As the medical social worker of the NICU, she will provide families with emotional support, community resources, care coordination and encourage family involvement in patient care.