NICU Awareness Month: What We Learned

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September was Neonatal Intensive Care Awareness Month, an observance that honors families who have experienced a stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and the health professionals who take care of them. To help raise NICU awareness and celebrate the month, Phononic encouraged nurses and parents to “share their stories”: their thoughts about and experiences with caring for and feeding newborns in the NICU.

The responses were heartfelt and genuine, and we want to thank all of those who shared their stories with us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Parents and grandparents expressed their overwhelming gratitude for the care that both they and their babies experienced in the NICU. Nurses explained why they love to care for NICU infants and their families, many of them mentioning the wonderful feeling they experience every time a family is finally able to bring their child home.

“I have been a NICU RN for 40 years and an IBCLC [International Board Certified Lactation Consultant] in the NICU for 20 years. The miracle of our preterm babies breastfeeding is breathtaking and amazing! I feel privileged and blessed helping these tiny babies and their mothers!”

– Kerstin West-Wilson, registered nurse

Nurses and parents also shared some of their challenges and suggestions for improvements, specifically in regard to breast milk storage and feeding.

“Oh wow this brought back a flood of memories. As a mom, I was regularly sent home with milk from the NICU because they didn’t have space. Then they had to supplement with formula because they ran out of milk one night even though I had milk at home.”

– Rachel Feldman, mother

Many nurses explained the process of barcoding and scanning each bottle of breast milk to ensure it gets to the right baby. They felt that the ability to store breast milk directly in private patient rooms would make a major difference in terms of efficiency and better patient care.

“We barcode and scan baby and milk to ensure we have correct milk. Would also be nice to be able to store in the room.”

– Twitter user and nurse, @MenaSue217

Parents also appreciate the peace and privacy of single-family rooms and the ability to feed their babies with minimal staff involvement.

RELATED READ: The New NICU: Caring for the Entire Family

At Phononic, we believe that even the tiniest of patients deserve the greatest quality of care. We would like to express our gratitude for all of the nurses and other participants who shared their personal stories with us during NICU Awareness Month. Their firsthand accounts of neonatal care are powerful testaments to their dedication to their patients and to the important role that refrigeration can play in the NICU experience.

From all of us at Phononic, thank you.

Phononic’s compact, near-silent, solid-state refrigerators were designed to be placed where NICU staff and patients need them most: directly in patient rooms. If you’d like to learn more about Phononic refrigeration for your hospital or NICU, connect with our healthcare team.