Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
St. Peter's Neonatal Intensive Care Nursery, better known as NICU, is the nursery where specialized medical care is provided to newborns that require close observation and attention for a few hours, several days or many days. The staff is committed to providing high-tech, highly compassionate care in a family-centered environment to each premature infant or each full-term infant with individual medical needs. At St. Peter's, parents are our partners in their infant's care.
St. Peter's Hospital offers a state-of-the-art Level III NICU designed to give specialized care to infants born here and to infants transferred from other hospitals. This unit is staffed 24-hours/day with board-certified neonatologists, neonatal nurse practitioners and registered nurses certified in neonatal nursing. Newborns are supported by additional clinical specialists, such as respiratory therapists, lactation consultants, social workers and spiritual care providers.
We especially value the members of our Family Advisory Council, who help us remain as family-centered as possible.
Inside the NICU
Because NICU babies have very specialized needs, you may see your baby connected to many monitors, tubes, wires and specialized lighting. You may hear beeping sounds coming from monitors. These monitors and their sounds help nurses and physicians determine your child's needs.
You may notice that the lighting in the NICU is muted. This helps your infant sleep more easily. More sleep encourages infants to grow and mature.
Your child may need help breathing. If so, you may see tubing, ventilators, high-frequency oscillators and other respiratory devices.
You may also see medications and nutritional fluids being delivered to your infant through intravenous (IV) tubing and/or feeding tube.
Often, NICU infants need to have light therapy for jaundice conditions. They may have lighting from above, below or both. When this occurs, infants are given eye coverings that look like cloth sunglasses to protect their eyes from the bright lights.
What Parents Can Do
Parents are welcome in the NICU at any time, as we promote the concept of family-centered care—care in which parents partner with the health care team in all health care decisions about their infant.
Parents are encouraged to call the NICU any time of the day, seven days/week at 518-525-1394 to check on their baby. To obtain information, the parent must provide the infant security number given to them by NICU staff to ensure confidentiality. In addition, parents are asked to wear their identification bands for the duration of their child's admission. Staff will verify your identity when you visit the NICU.
When you are parenting in the NICU, we encourage you to hold, touch, read and sing to your baby whenever possible. Please speak to your nurse about questions or concerns you may have. We are here to support you during this often stressful time.