Partnering with families for better NICU outcomes

Kelsey and her daughter, Mara, receiving care in our NICU from Media Esser, a neonatal nurse practitioner

Kelsey and her daughter, Mara, receiving care in our NICU from Media Esser, a neonatal nurse practitioner

I have worked in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin since 2001. I started as a nurse intern and later became a nurse. Now I am a neonatal nurse practitioner. Although I’ve filled different roles, I have learned that the one constant in the NICU is the very special and unique way that we work with the families we serve.

We see families from all types of backgrounds — and they all need individualized care and support. This is a very vulnerable time in their lives. They often are worried and feel overwhelmed by what they are going through. At Children’s Hospital, we provide the individualized care that families need right at the bedside every day. We start our day with rounds at every child’s bedside. Rounds include the many members of the team caring for the infant. Because they are an important partner in the care plan, we encourage parents to participate if they are available.

If the parents are not able to be a part of rounds, we connect with them afterward so they can be fully included in all the decisions that are made. Throughout our day, we update the parents about any changes in care and are always available for questions and concerns that may come up.

Most recently I cared for an infant in our Newborn Progressive Care Unit that was almost ready to go home. He just needed to eat a little better. I sat down with the mother and we had a long talk about her goals. We discussed what we could all do to reach the goals together. By sitting down and actively listening to this mother’s frustration and concerns, we were able to develop a plan of care that worked for her and her child — and he was discharged within 2 days!

I believe it’s this kind of commitment that led us to be ranked by Parents magazine as the #1 NICU in the country. Our group of neonatal nurse practitioners and all the staff in our NICU take infant care to the next level and strive to fully satisfy every family we serve, every day.

As we look forward to the Milwaukee March for Babies on April 27, we invite all of you to join our team to show support for improving the care of babies and their families everywhere.

Media Esser, MSN, NNP-BC, APNP- Media Esser, MSN, NNP-BC, APNP, neonatal nurse practitioner, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin treats more than 700 infants each year, making us the busiest NICU in the state. We treat the most fragile newborns and provide the highest level of care. We are able to offer lifesaving surgeries to babies even before they are born, and do surgeries and procedures at the bedside when a baby can’t be moved.

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