Whenever I sign off on an email I include the phrase, “take care and care well”. I started doing this about 4 years ago primarily in my sign offs on emails to the clinical staff — it was my small way of acknowledging and supporting the good work they do everyday.
All clinicians strive to do their best in every patient care encounter but when their best is under-informed, that impacts not only the patient’s experience of care but also the clinician’s experience – the experience of making a difference for others.
The concept of developmentally supportive care has been around for over three decades. Despite this historical reality, clinicians continue to struggle to consistently and reliably apply the practices and principles of this philosophical framework for care in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU). In trying to connect the profound relevance and importance of this framework to neonatal physiologic, psychological, and socio-emotional outcomes, Transformative Nursing in the NICU reframes the concept of developmental care to align with Joint Commission standards, global healthcare quality objectives and the basic tenets of nursing – “It may seem a strange principle to enunciate as the very first requirement in a hospital is that it should do the sick no harm” (Nightingale 1863).
In order to “take care and care well,” healthcare professionals must fully understand their patients’ experience of hospitalization, empathize with the trauma associated with life-threatening illness, understand a patients’ separation from family, acknowledge their fear, isolation, pain, stress, sleep deprivation, and so much more! In addition, clinicians must understand how bearing witness to the suffering of another affects them emotionally and physically – taking care of self is requisite to provide quality caring experiences for other, and to ultimately ‘care well’.
Transformative Nursing in the NICU presents the latest evidence-based research and clinical caring strategies that aim to inform, inspire and ultimately guide neonatal clinicians in transforming the culture of care in the NICU.