NICU staff training - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

NICU staff training

by Pam Warnke

MARSHFIELD (WAOW)--  The NICU staff at Saint Joseph's Children's Hospital treat babies with a variety of problems.

In many cases they are multiples, like the Suchy triplets, born nearly 4 months early.

"It's a good portion of our business and the reason is if you think about how women give birth, they have a uterus that holds a certain volume and when that volume is exceeded the babies tend to want to be born," said Dr. Jody Gross.

Preterm a few weeks in some cases.  In others, it's closer to the lower threshold of survivability.

"We're talking 23 weeks, 24 weeks.  And, the decision, in terms of care for those babies, is always made by a large group of people, mostly parents.  However, the neonatologist and the clergy and a number of other issues come up that require multiple disciplines to help make those decisions," said Dr. Jim Opitz.  "When you're right at the threshold of viability, 23 to 23.5 weeks, some parents are very adament about wanting everything done and some are not."

Preterm babies are a portion of those here.  Babies reaching full gestational age are also admitted.

Both groups suffer from diseases of organ systems, congenital defects, surgical and genetic problems.

The physician staff is well equipped to deal with these types of issues.

"The neonatologists that we have on staff currently all are four years in general pediatrics as a basic.  After that they enter additional fellowship training, which is about three years in length, that provides them with training that's specific to caring for children who are in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit," said Dr. Todd Stewart.

Nurses are on the front lines of day to day care for these babies.

"A typical, average nursing assignment is one nurse to two babies.  We have our patient assignments where the acuity dictates that you need to have one nurse at that bedside around the clock, 24-7," said NICU Manager Rachael Haupt-Harrington.

They are specially trained for their duties as well.

Dr. Todd Stewart said, "The nursing staff are all specially pediatric trained and also undergo additional certifications to help in their skills caring for these very fragile children."

Online Reporter: Pam Warnke

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