Who's Who in the NICU
Many professionals work as a team to care for your baby. You may meet some or all of the following:
Neonatologist: Physician who specializes in the care of children and has taken further training in the care of sick newborns.
Pediatrician: Physician who specializes in the care of children.
Neonatal Nurse Practitioner: A nurse who has received additional training in newborn intensive care so s/he can perform many of the same tasks as doctors.
Neonatal Nurse: Registered nurse who specializes in the care of sick babies in the NICU.
Lactation Consultant: A nurse or other professional who has received additional training and certification to help mothers with breast feeding issues.
Respiratory Therapist: An allied health professional with special training in the care and management of patients who have breathing problems and/or need respiratory support.
Occupational Therapist: A specialist in infant development and wound care. You may encounter this person either in the nursery or in a follow-up setting.
Physical Therapist: A specialist for babies with gross motor (muscle tone) issues.
Speech and Language Therapist: A specialist for babies with feeding problems.
Dietician: A specialist in the nutritional needs of newborns.
Care Coordinator: A nurse who specializes in insurance matters and discharge planning.
Social Worker: A specialist who helps families cope with the emotional stress and makes practical arrangements for care after discharge from the NICU. He/she can direct you to applicable community resources.
Technician: Assists in the treatment and care of patients under the direction of the Physician or registered nurse.
In addition, if your baby has a particular need, another specialist may be consulted. Common sub specialists and their area of expertise include:
- Cardiologist: A doctor specializing in the structure and/or rhythm of the heart.
- Geneticist: A doctor specializing in inherited or genetic issues and their effects.
- Neurologist: A doctor specializing in disorders of the brain and nervous system.
- Ophthalmologist: A doctor specializing in eye disorders.
- Orthopedist: A doctor specializing in disorders of the skeleton.
- Pediatric Surgeon: A doctor who performs surgical procedures on babies and children.
- Pulmonologist: A doctor specializing in the care of babies who have apnea and/or other lung disorders.