How We Work in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Children's Hospital Colorado on Anschutz Medical Campus


Your Infant’s Care Team

The Neonatal IntensiveCare Unit (NICU) has a team of professionals who will provide care for your infant. This multi-disciplinary team includes the following professionals:

  • Attending neonatologist - Doctor with specialized training in critical care for premature and term newborns. All of our neonatologists are board-certified in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, and are members of the faculty at the University of Colorado. An attending neonatologist is present in the NICU every day, 24 hours a day to coordinate and provide care for your baby.

  • Neonatology fellows - Doctor who has completed training in pediatrics, and is currently receiving training to become a neonatologist. The neonatology fellow cares for your baby under the direct supervision of the attending neonatologist.

  • Neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP) - Registered nurse with advanced master’s training and nationally certified by National Certification Corporation in the diagnosis and management of critically ill newborns. The NNP provides high-quality patient care, performs medical procedures and communicates with you about your baby’s condition. NNPs are present in the NICU 24 hours a day.

  • Registered nurse (bedside nurse) - Experienced nurses who provide care for critically ill and premature infants at the bedside 24 hours a day. Many of our nurses have advanced training in developmentally supportive care and feeding strategies for medically fragile infants.

  • Charge nurse - Registered nurse who oversees nursing care for the NICU each day, provides nursing patient assignments and assists in emergencies. The charge nurse is available to assist both nursing staff and families.

  • Pharmacist - The NICU is staffed by a Doctor of Pharmacy who prepares medications and IV fluids for the NICU, and attends daily “rounds” to provide the medical team with important information about medication choices, drug dosing and medication interactions. The pharmacy staff may also provide teaching and drug information to families.

  • Respiratory therapist (RT) - The NICU has a dedicated team of respiratory therapists that helps manage babies requiring respiratory support for breathing problems. They provide respiratory treatments including surfactant, nitric oxide, and nebulizer treatments, and perform blood gas analysis. The respiratory care team also provides education in the event that your baby is discharged home on oxygen.

  • Occupational therapist (OT) - Occupational therapists in the NICU have extensive experience and training to work with fragile newborns. They evaluate and work with infants to improve oral-motor skills, assess safety and readiness for oral feeding and promote healthy development through use of positioning and environmental influences. 

  • Physical therapist (PT) - Physical therapists are specially trained to assess infants at risk for physical impairments and provide therapy to improve neuromotor outcomes. They may work with you and teach you specific exercises that influence muscle tone and movement.

  • Neonatal nutritionists - Our two registered neonatal nutritionists perform nutrition and growth evaluations on all infants in the NICU. They work with the medical team to determine optimal feeding strategies for both IV and oral nutrition. This may include caloric supplementation of breast milk or formula, specialized formulas and vitamin supplementation to maximize healthy growth for your child.

  • Social worker - Having an infant in the NICU can be a very stressful experience. Our professional licensed social workers are available 24 hrs a day to provide support and assistance to our NICU parents. Many parents utilize the social workers for help with family, financial, marital or discharge planning issues.

  • Case manager - The case manager will meet with you during your stay and will help to manage financial and insurance issues related to your hospitalization. The case manager also helps to coordinate discharge planning.

  • Lactation team - Lactation consultants are available to meet with mothers to help encourage breast feeding and an ample milk supply. Many infants admitted to the NICU are not able to nurse right away, so the lactation support team has a variety of resources available to help with pumping and storage of breast milk. Children’s Colorado has a Milk Lab that provides the highest level of quality and safety for storing and preparing breast milk for feedings.

  • Pastoral care - Spiritual support is available from the Pastoral Care department 24 hours a day. Chaplains are available to meet with families, perform baptism and support families.