Empowering Neonatal Nurses through Neuro-Critical Care Education


Dr. Khorshid Mohammad, MD, MSc (Pediatrics), FABP, FRCP (Edin)

Neonatal nurses are in a unique position as front line caregivers, and can play a vital role when it comes to early initiation of brain monitoring (EEG, aEEG and NIRS), as well as the implementation of neuroprotective management strategies in neonates. Bedside nurses are also essential contributors to the early identification of seizures and the presence of abnormal neurological findings by both clinical and monitoring means.

With this vision in mind, the Calgary Neonatal Neuro-Critical Care Program, in collaboration with Alberta Children Hospital (ACH) Neuro-Critical Care Program, and the support of ACH EEG technologists, organized the inaugural Nursing Neonatal Neuro-Critical Care Workshop. The workshop was the first of its kind in Canada that was uniquely facilitated by NNCC nursing leads (Norma Oliver and Jan Lind), attracting both local participants as well as nurses from across Canada.

Through the course of the day, the workshop provided didactic lectures (neonatal neurological examination, HIE pathophysiology, aEEG pattern interpretation, neonatal EEG set up, neuroprotection beyond cooling, and neonatal seizure recognition) highlighting the principle of HIBERNATE (Hypothermia, Integrating family involvement, Boundaries, Environment, Recognition of rest and recovery, Nutrition, Assessment, Tools, EEG). Also included in the day’s activities were a series of interactive hand-on workshops where the nurses were coached on pragmatic skills such as setup and initiation of therapeutic hypothermia and EEG monitoring, the newborn neurological examination, and differential diagnosis in case-based studies.

The goal of the workshop was to create motivation and momentum in front line nurses that can be built upon to help improve outcomes for neonates with brain-at-risk. We also hope that the workshop will facilitate collaborative efforts with other centres to implement the skills and knowledge gained during the day.

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