The importance of nursing in the FICare model
The relationship that develops between NICU nurses and parents is the key component that facilitates the success of FICare. Parents need to understand that they have a role in the NICU and mutual trust needs to be established between the parents and nursing staff. The bedside nurse has a role in both information sharing and in coaching the parents as they grow into their role as care providers.
What is the role of nursing in FICare?
On arrival to the NICU, in addition to parent orientation to the unit (e.g., physical space of the unit, infection control policies, etc.), parents need to be informed of the importance of their role in their infants’ care. As parents grow more confident in the environment, they are encouraged to participate as much as possible in their infants’ care while gradually reducing nursing supervision.
Nurses provide bedside teaching to parents on a variety of skills needed to care for their infant including the provision of skin-to-skin care, how to bathe, dress, and weigh their baby and how to check vital signs.
Nurses may provide additional education on specific medical conditions, but this will depend on unit policies of the hospital. For example, at Mount Sinai Hospital, parents are educated on how to identify events such as apnea, bradycardia, and/or oxygen desaturation, including how to provide stimulation or knowing when to call for help. The extent to which parents can be involved in the administration of medications will also depend on hospital policies. And for more examples in coming months see “FiCare around the World.”
Ultimately, nurses work with parents to develop a care plan which incorporates parent participation in medical rounds, attending parent education sessions, and providing basic bedside care. They are also asked to consult with parents about their knowledge and skill acquisition throughout the process of taking on the new role as caregiver to a sick or recovering newborn.
The professional nurse charting responsibilities have not been changed in any studies of this model. As each hospital adopts FiCare principles, they need to ensure that the model goes hand-in-hand with institutional standards and policies, as well as their professional college guidelines.