Nursing in our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
Our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) treats approximately 500 patients per year.
There is no obstetric facility within the hospital and the Unit mainly cares for general surgical neonates referred from other hospitals. We often treat neonates with necrotising enterocolitis, bowel obstruction, oesophageal atresia, tracheoesophageal fistulae and other congenital anomalies.
Neonates with complex medical and surgical problems from other specialties are also admitted (laryngeal clefts, sacrococcygeal teratomas). There is extensive research by both surgical and medical teams into causes and treatments for necrotising enterocolitis in neonates.
We also admit neonates who may need extracorporeal life support (ECLS, also known as extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO) and employ maximal medical management. This includes nitric oxide and high frequency oscillation to try and avoid the use of ECLS if possible. Two of the consultants have a specialist research interest in persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn.
The NICU is part of the North Thames Central Neonatal Network. In this collaboration we aim to provide the best service possible for neonates by sharing best practice and service opportunities with our colleagues in University College London Hospitals (UCLH), Whittington, Royal Free, Chase Farm and Barnet. We have regular meetings with colleagues from the University College Hospital (UCH) Neonatal Unit to discuss shared patients and best practice.
Our staff also provide a strong support network for families and there are regular midwife clinics, family liaison nurses, psychological support and breast feeding specialists available.