Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

With its specially trained staff and leading-edge technology, Rapides Women’s and Children’s Hospital is well-prepared to care for your newborn in our NICU. We have an experienced team of neonatal nurses – all certified in Neonatal CPR and who have completed an in-depth course in the stabilization and care of critically ill newborns.

Our neonatologists provide coverage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your pediatrician will work with our staff to provide direct care, consultation and attendance at deliveries of high-risk infants.

Developmental care and neonatal pain management are key to your child’s development – and we provide both.

NICU Visiting hours: Only two people allowed per infant at a time. Times are 8 a.m.-12 p.m., 2-6 p.m., 8 p.m. - 12 a.m. and 2-6 a.m. Specific screening forms are filled out daily prior to visitation being permitted.

NICU Support Team
In the NICU, it takes a team to take care of you and your baby. Not every NICU will have all of these team members, and not every baby requires the services of each team member.

Respiratory Therapist
If your baby needs help breathing, a respiratory therapist, will help manage the appropriate equipment and associated monitoring devices. Some respiratory therapists are trained in endotracheal intubation and may also draw blood to obtain a blood gas from your baby.

The nutritional aspects of your baby’s care may be supported by a pediatric or neonatal nutritionist who will help optimize your baby’s growth and development and may recommend specific additives for your baby’s breast milk or formula.

Lactation Specialist
Breastfeeding support may be provided by lactation specialists, or by lactation nurses or doctors who have specialized training within your NICU. The lactation specialist manages complex problems of breastfeeding mothers and babies.

Infant Developmental Specialist
Infant development specialists are individuals with training who work with the NICU team to assess your baby’s development. These services may be provided by a variety of people, all ensuring that your baby’s environment in the NICU and after discharge is optimal for his or her development.

Pediatric/Family Clinical Psychologist
Clinical psychologists may also be available in your NICU to help the team provide support to you. These specialists focus on supporting parents as they develop relationships with their infants and with the NICU staff.

Social Worker
A social worker in the NICU will help coordinate services including your own support structure, financial and insurance arrangement, and even housing and transportation needs.

Parent Educator
Your unit may also have a parent educator, usually a nurse, who provides information and instruction for NICU families.

A pharmacist with specific training in neonatal drugs and doses helps ensure the safety of medications and IV nutrition used to treat your baby.

Occupational, physical, and speech therapists all have special skills to help foster your baby’s neurologic and physical development. These therapists may help with establishing a nipple-feeding program for your baby and may also recommend a range of exercises and stretches for your baby.

Case Manager/Discharge Planner
Some NICUs use the services of a case manager or discharge planner who may follow your baby during their stay in the hospital and ensure that progress is being made toward discharge.

Medical Students/Nursing Students
Medical students and nursing students may also be present in the unit. These students are not yet physicians or RNs but have typically completed all of their core medical or nursing training. Medical and nursing students are closely supervised while working in the NICU.

Your NICU may also have a chaplain to help you access the spiritual resources you need.

Research Investigators

Many NICUs participate in research projects to improve the quality of care for babies. To help facilitate these projects, your NICU may have one or more clinical investigators  who can discuss whether your baby might be eligible to participate in one of these research projects.

Parent-to-Parent Providers
Your NICU may have a team of parents, some of whom are still in the unit and others of whom have gone home with their babies, who serve as a resource to newer parents in the NICU. These “veteran” parent groups do not provide care for your baby; rather, they help provide care for you. These parents can listen to your concerns, share their experiences and offer suggestions on who can best answer your questions. Best of all, they remind you that you are not going through this alone.

Unit Secretary
When you enter the NICU, you are greeted by the unit secretary. She handles the flow of people, paper, and information into and out of the NICU.

Financial Counselor
A financial counselor can  answer questions concerning your hospital bill, help you submit your bill to the appropriate agencies for payment, and set up a payment plan if you are responsible for any portion of the bill.

Still More People
Other personnel in the NICU may include laboratory technicians; X-ray technicians; ultrasound technicians; patient care associates and housekeepers. Whether providing direct care or mopping the floor, all hospital personnel provide vital services for your baby’s care.