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An adult finger touching the bottom of a newborn baby’s foot as it rests on a blanket.
Figure 25.1 Preterm Birth Some of the most vulnerable populations nurses care for are newborns. Within this special population, an even more susceptible patient is the newborn at risk. The goal of the nurse in the nursery, neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), and cardiothoracic intensive care unit (CTICU) is to identify and be prepared to treat, when necessary, the conditions that can most harm these small yet resilient infants. (credit: “Against the odds” by Karen Abeyasekere/Royal Air Force Mildenhall, Public Domain)

Newborn complications include those related to traumatic birth, a result of maternal health, or an outcome of genetics. The nurse's priority is knowing when and how to intervene to provide the best care for the newborn and family. Nursing interventions can sometimes include following neonatal resuscitation protocols or transferring a preterm newborn to the NICU for care. Parent attachment with an at-risk newborn can be altered because of the need for immediate medical interventions. The nurse encourages parents to engage with their newborn as much as medically possible to facilitate appropriate bonding and attachment. In addition, the nurse provides and regularly reinforces discharge teaching so that parents feel confident to care safely for their at-risk newborn at home.


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