Posts Tagged ‘doctors’

Your NICU healthcare team

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

NICU doctor and baby resizedAt times, it may seem that there is a constant flow of different people caring for your baby in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).  A team of professionals work together to give your baby every possible chance of achieving good health.

Some or all of these people may be part of the NICU team at your hospital:

chaplain – A person who provides spiritual support to NICU families.

charge nurse – A health care provider who has nursing training. The charge nurse makes sure that the NICU runs well. This nurse also oversees admitting babies to and discharging them from the NICU.

clinical nurse specialist – Also called CNS. A health care provider who has special nursing training in the care of children and their families. The CNS helps parents deal with their baby’s stay in the NICU. The CNS provides support and teaches parents about their baby’s health condition. The CNS is also involved in nursing staff education.

family support specialist – A person who provides information, help and comfort to families when their baby is in the NICU.

lactation consultant – A person who has special training to help women breastfeed.

medical geneticist – A doctor who has special training in diseases that are inherited and other birth defects.

neonatal nurse practitioner – Also called NNP. A health care provider who has special nursing and medical training in caring for sick babies. The NNP works with the baby’s neonatologist and other medical team members. The NNP can perform medical procedures and care for babies.

neonatal physician assistant – Also called PA. A health care provider who has special medical training in working with sick newborns. The PA works with the neonatologist, performs medical procedures and may direct your baby’s care.

neonatologist – A pediatrician (children’s doctor) who has years of additional medical training in the care of sick newborns.

neonatology fellow – A fully trained pediatrician who is getting additional medical training in the care of sick newborns.

occupational therapist – Also called OT. A health care provider who helps figure out how well babies feed and swallow and how well they move their arms and legs.

ophthalmologist – A doctor who has special medical training in the care of eyes and vision.

patient care assistant – Also called PCA. A NICU staff member who helps nurses change bed sheets, feed babies and prepare bottles.

pediatric cardiologist – A doctor who has special medical training in the care of a baby’s or child’s heart.

pediatric gastroenterologist – A doctor who has special medical training in the care of a baby’s or child’s digestive system. The digestive system is made up of organs and tubes that digest (break down) the food a baby eats.

pediatric neurologist – A doctor who has special medical training in the care of a baby’s or child’s brain and spinal cord. A spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that carries signals between the brain and the body.

pediatric pulmonologist – A doctor who has special medical training in the care of a baby’s or child’s lungs.

pediatric resident – A doctor who is getting medical training in taking care of babies and children.

pediatrician – A doctor who has special training in taking care of babies and children.

pharmacist – A person who has special training in how medicines work and the side effects they may cause. People get prescription medicine from a pharmacist. Pharmacists also provide medicines in the hospital and may visit patients with the NICU team.

physical therapist – Also called PT. A health care provider who looks at any movement problems babies have and how they may affect developmental milestones such as sitting, rolling over or walking. The PT helps a baby improve muscle strength and coordination.

registered dietitian – Also called RD. A health care provider who is trained as an expert in nutrition. The RD works with the NICU doctors and nurses to help make sure babies get all the nutrients they need. Nutrients, like vitamins and minerals, help the body stay healthy.

registered nurse – Also called RN. A health care provider who has nursing training. An RN in the NICU has special training in caring for sick newborns.

respiratory therapist — Also called RT. A health care provider who cares for babies with breathing problems. An RT is trained to use medical equipment needed to care for babies.

social worker – A person who is trained to help families cope with their baby’s NICU stay. The social worker can help families get information from health care providers about their baby’s medical conditions, give emotional support, help families work with medical insurance companies, and help plan for when their baby comes home.

speech and language therapist – A health care provider who has training to help people with speech and language problems. In the NICU, this therapist often helps newborns with feeding problems.

surgeon – A doctor who has additional specialized medical training in performing surgery and other procedures.

technician – A member of the hospital staff who may draw blood or take X-rays (a test that uses small amounts of radiation to take pictures of inside the body).

At one point or another, you may encounter many of the above people while your baby is in the NICU. They all work together to provide continuous care for your baby. Learn more about pediatric specialties and how they may help your baby.

Remember – you are also an important member of the NICU team, too. Don’t ever hesitate to ask questions or speak up for your baby.

Have questions? Text or email

What are pediatric specialties?

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

doctorsThere are many different areas of medicine. If your child has ever been referred to a specialist it is often difficult to know how one differs from another. Here is a list of pediatric specialties with a brief description of each one.

Allergy – Treatment of an individual’s immune system response to an allergen (something in the environment that triggers a negative reaction.)  Reactions can range from sneezing to asthma to eczema to not breathing.

Anesthesiology – Management of pain. For example, an anesthesiologist monitors a patient during surgery and provides appropriate pain relief.

Cardiology – Treatment of heart conditions, such as congenital heart defects.

Critical Care Medicine – Treatment of severely sick babies or children in the hospital, usually in a neonatal or pediatric intensive care unit (NICU or PICU).

Dermatology – Treatment of the skin, hair and nails. It includes birthmarks as well as skin growths or infections.

Developmental Behavioral Medicine – Treatment of children who have developmental delays, disabilities, birth defects, emotional and/or behavioral issues.

Emergency Medicine – Treatment given in a hospital emergency room or trauma center for illnesses or injuries requiring immediate attention.

Endocrinology – Treatment of many conditions related to the endocrine system (glands and the hormones they produce).  Conditions include diabetes, thyroid disorders, hormone and growth problems.

Gastroenterology – Treatment of digestive disorders (occurring in organs such as the esophagus, stomach, intestines, liver).  Disorders can include reflux problems, bowel disorders, celiac disease, and many other issues.

Genetics – Treatment and guidance regarding conditions, diseases or birth defects that are passed down from parent to child (inherited).

Hematology – Treatment of blood disorders, such as sickle cell disease or hemophilia.

Immunology – Treatment of the body’s immune system when it fails to work correctly. (The immune system helps to fight foreign germs or diseases.)

Infectious disease – Treatment of specific diseases that are visible only under a microscope, such as viruses, parasites or bacterial infections. There are hundreds. Some examples include Rotavirus, Hepatitis, Measles, Tuberculosis, Salmonella, Shingles, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), Listeriosis and even the Flu.

Neonatal and Perinatal Medicine – Treatment of very ill newborn babies. It can include premature or full term infants.  (Neonatal means the period from birth through the first 28 days of life; Perinatal means the time from the 22nd week of gestation during pregnancy through the first 28 days after delivery.)

Nephrology – Treatment of kidney disease, urinary tract or bladder problems and even high blood pressure.

Neurology – Treatment of the body’s nervous system disorders which include seizures, headaches, tics, developmental delays, sleep problems, muscle weakness disorders (such as cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy), autism, and intellectual disability.

Oncology – Treatment of different kinds of cancers.

Ophthalmology –Treatment of diseases and dysfunction of the eyes. Examples include visual processing disorders, eye injuries, blocked tear ducts, lazy eye, and complications from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

Orthopedics – Treatment of bone, joint and muscle problems, such as broken bones, joint infections, club foot, scoliosis and other deformities, and abnormal walking patterns. Treatment may include surgery.

Otolaryngology – Treatment of the ears, nose and throat (also known as ENT), head and neck diseases.

Physiatry or Physical Medicine (also known as Rehabilitation Medicine) – Treatment to restore function and reduce pain in a physically disabled child, which could be due to cerebral palsy, spina bifida, brain or spinal cord injuries or other disorders.

Psychiatry –Treatment of mental and emotional disorders, such as anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder.

Pulmonology – Treatment of breathing problems and lung diseases, including asthma, cystic fibrosis, apnea, recurring pneumonia and airway disorders.

Radiology – The use of imaging technology (X-rays, MRI, CT scans, nuclear medicine) in diagnosing diseases and injuries.

Surgery – Treatment of diseases, deformities or injuries by operating. Specialties include heart and lungs, neurosurgery (brain), oral, head and neck, orthopedic and plastic surgery.

Urology – Treatment of urinary and genital system problems, such as incontinence, bed wetting, undescended testes, genital abnormalities, tumors and other disorders.

Note: This post is part of the weekly series Delays and disabilities – how to get help for your child. It was started in January and appears every Wednesday. Go to News Moms Need and click on “Help for your child” on the menu on the right side to view all of the blog posts to date. As always, we welcome your comments and input.

Have questions? Send them to