September 15, 2014 (Scottsdale, AZ)
September 15th is National Neonatal Nurses Day, a special day for the nurses that care for premature babies. These nurses are known as neonatal nurses. It is National Neonatal Nurses Day, and members of the neonatal community and others are taking the time to recognize the good that these healthcare professionals do for the world’s smallest patients. Premature birth is designated as a birth at least three weeks before a baby’s normal due date (40 weeks). The earlier a baby is born, the more risk it has for healthcare problems. These premature infants often need to be cared for in a neonatal intensive-care unit, also known as a NICU. The babies are cared for in a neonatal incubator. The first neonatal incubator was invented in the nineteenth century by Dr. Stephane Tarnier.
Dr. Tarnier’s design was based on incubators that kept chicken eggs warm. Today’s neonatal incubators (Isolettes) are modern marvels that control temperature and humidity, keeping the baby in a perfect, comfortable and controlled environment.
There are four levels of care that neonatal nurses may work in:
Level I – Neonatal nurses care for healthy newborns
Level II – Neonatal nurses provide intermediate care for special-care premature babies. They provide special therapies for babies that may require a longer stay in the hospital.
Level III – NICU: Neonatal nurses provide breathing and feeding tubes in order for babies to survive.
Level IV – NICU: Neonatal nurses provide care for the most critical newborns.
The job of the neonatal nurse is to provide complete care for newborn babies. They are involved with the delivery, weighing and measuring of the newborn. Neonatal nurses that work in the NICU may be responsible for starting IVs, using ventilators, drawing blood and using incubators. They also use equipment such as baby warmers, cardiac monitors, stethoscopes and more. Besides caring for the babies, neonatal nurses often provide comfort for the parents. Often parents are scared and confused about what is happening with their newborn. The neonatal nurse answers their questions, and teaches new parents about newborn care and breastfeeding. It takes a special kind of nurse to care for these special babies. Angel MedFlight would like to take the time to draw attention to and thank all of the neonatal nurses that are helping to save new lives.