The purpose of this essay will be to explore neonatal nursing and how health promotion plays a key role in this field of nursing. I will show the roles of a neonatal nurse and outline the dimensions of advocacy that are implemented within neonatology.
Neonatology is a specialized field of pediatric medicine that focuses on caring for newborn babies that are premature and extremely sick. Today, in neonatology, there is a large multidisciplinary team, consisting of many specialists, whose roles all combine to help reduce the mortality of infants under a year of age. Neonatal nurses are members of this special team who has the most hands-on care for the infant. The nurse is the person who performs the day-to-day tasks of assessing, monitoring, and providing care to keep these medically fragile newborns alive. This includes using evidence-based knowledge and keeping up to date with new practices to help improve the babies' developmental outcomes. The neonatal nurse is the team member who often has to advocate for the best care of the baby while it is still in the hospital. Why do I want to be a neonatal nurse?
Neonatal care has not always been a specialized field of medicine. In the far past, newborns were treated like miniature adults. Unfortunately, as a result, many the premature and sick babies did not survive past their first year of life With the new improvements in these types of equipment as well as improvement in our knowledge of the infant's needs, many of these babies now survive past the infancy period
Besides handwashing and infection prevention, another topic that parents are taught in the first few days of life, especially if the baby is sick and/or premature is about the developing brain. Showing and teaching parents about developing care for the baby, and not overstimulating the baby’s brain, can help the baby cope with the hospital stay and allow their brain to develop as if the baby was still intrauterine as much as possible. However, family involvement is still very key for both, the parent's mental health outcomes and the premature child. Thus having the parents involved in the care of the infant when it's time will help to build the future relationship between the newborn and its parents.
Breastfeeding promotion is a topic that is very important in the NICU. Not all parents are able or desire to breastfeed, but if the nurse can teach the parents about the importance of pumping and providing breast milk for the first few weeks of the baby’s life it helps with gut bacteria and can have a great effect on the baby’s overall health (Davanzo & De Cunto, 2013). Nurses play a very important role in promoting and supporting breastfeeding, both inside the NICU setting and in preparing the parents for when the baby goes home. By teaching new moms how to pump and store their milk properly, and providing a relaxing atmosphere and pumping equipment most moms will decide to do what is best for their babies. Later, when the baby is capable of breast or bottle-feed, showing these moms how to position and hold their babies during feedings, often leads to these moms continuing to breastfeed even after their babies are discharged home.
In conclusion, being a neonatal nurse involves the nurse performing a wide variety of tasks. This specialized nurse needs to have strong observational skills to pick up the subtle changes in the critically sick babies' status. They need to be able to work as a team member in formulating a plan of care and advocating for the best care for their sick infant patient, as well as providing education to the parent to help ensure that the baby will grow up in the healthiest way possible. Teaching about handwashing and infection protection, developmental care to ensure that the baby’s brain develops properly, and encouraging breastfeeding as the best but not the only option in providing nutrition for the baby are important ways to promote good health. Why do I want to be a neonatal nurse? Not only to help the child as it grows up but to have an idea on how to overcome challenges that the premature baby may face throughout its life that other newborns may not experience.