Monday, March 20, 2017

Tamale Teaching Hospital- NICU

Skin to Skin

Last week we had the opportunity to work alongside the nurses and doctors in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. It was an eye opening, rewarding, and challenging experience for the three of us. We saw the tiniest and sickest babies imaginable. Although the NICU looked much different than our's does at home, the same principles were applied, with much more resourcefulness and creative thinking. These nurses individually take care of as many babies as approximately four nurses would in Canada. The infants are very sick with complex care needs. In the critical care unit, there were 19 babies, who each needed to be fed and given IV fluids every 2 hours. At times, there were as few as 2 nurses in that room trying to manage the workload.

The doctors do rounds on every neonate each day to reassess their needs and plan for discharge so that the babies can be home with their families as soon as possible. We were surprised by the advanced nature of their equipment and supplies. They had incubators similar to the ones that we use at home. However, there is a high need for the resources, and a limited amount of supplies leading to multiple infants being cared for in one incubator. Ideally, the incubators should house one infant at a time, to provide an optimal environment for their healing, as each child has specific requirements .

In addition to the critical care room, there was a Kangaroo Care room, and an "open crib room", where the neonates who were almost ready to be discharged stayed. In the Kangaroo Care room, skin to skin and the teaching regarding its importance was practiced, as well as breastfeeding, and tending to their infant's needs. The language barrier was difficult and there were many things we wished we could have shared with the moms and were unable to do so effectively. The staff were very receptive to feedback and suggestions for improvement which was encouraging to us. We felt that our knowledge and opinions were valued and allowed for us to feel like we contributed something important. We are thankful that we received such a warm welcome onto the floor and for everything we learned and were able to teach. 

Posted by: Stephanie Bandura, Amanda McCrate, and Harveer Pooni

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