Your Baby's Care Team
It's normal to feel overwhelmed by the number of staff members you meet in the NICU. You may find it helpful to keep a list of staff members' names and titles. You may also want to keep a list of questions you want to ask them. Our clinicians work together to provide a complete range of neonatal and surgical services. The highly skilled neonatal team includes the following professionals.
Many types of physicians may be involved in your baby's care while in the NICU:
- Neonatalogists are board-certified pediatricians with advanced training in the care of premature and ill newborns. They supervise all care of your baby. Every two to four weeks, a different neonatologist serves as the attending physician. This is the doctor who is present in the nursery and responsible for what happens. At night and on weekends, other neonatologists are on call for the NICU.
- Pediatric hospitalists are physicians who specialize in pediatric hospital care. Our hospitalists provide focused, efficient and quality care to your child and are in constant communication with your child's pediatrician to allow for seamless care after hospitalization. During this difficult time, you can rest easy knowing your child is in excellent hands.
- Respiratory therapists evaluate, treat, and care for premature infants whose lungs are not fully developed. They assume primary responsibility for all respiratory care therapeutic treatments and diagnostic procedures, including the supervision of respiratory therapy technicians.
- Fellows are physicians training for careers in neonatology or perinatalogy. The close working relationship that exists between the pediatrics and obstetrics departments as well as the philosophy of the neonatal-perinatal training program assure a versatile and encompassing fellowship program. Fellows work closely and under the direction of a neonatalogist for the highest quality of care for our littlest patients.
The neonatologists on staff are UW Health physicians and UW School of Medicine and Public Health faculty members.
- Consultants are physicians that specialize in certain areas of pediatric medicine or surgery. They are available to see your baby if needed.
- Your primary care physician may take part in your baby's care. If your baby's primary care physician is not on our staff or is not in the Madison area, the neonatologists will update him or her on your baby's progress. When your baby goes home, your primary care physician will receive a copy of the discharge summary, so he or she knows your baby's medical needs.
Whatever the situation, all of our nurses are ready and able to meet your baby's needs. Registered nurses specially trained to care for premature and sick infants are assigned to care for your baby 24 hours a day.
If your baby is in the NICU for a long period of time, a small group of the unit's nurses will take primary responsibility for coordinating his or her nursing care and the teaching that you will need prior to taking your baby home. They are referred to as a Care Team.
Social workers are available to offer you support and assistance in coping with the stress of having your baby in an intensive care nursery. They also can assist you with financial and insurance issues, and provide information about hospital and community resources.
There are many other professionals who may care for your baby or offer services to you while your baby is in the NICU. If you see someone caring for your baby who you have not yet met, please feel free to ask them what their role is in helping your baby and you.