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What is neonatal intensive care unit? - Neonatal nurse salary in UK

Infant receiving expert neonatal nursing care from a nurse

What is a neonatal nurse [NICU]? - Importance of neonatal nursing

The neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is a special care baby unit and it is designated area of the hospital for newborn infants who require extensive medical care. The NICU has modern medical technology and skilled neonatal nurses to provide specialized care for newborn patients. NICUs can additionally serve as facilities for the treatment of infants who are not sick but still require expert special care. Babies must be moved to another hospital when a NICU cannot be staffed at a certain facility. A NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) provides care for some newborn infants. 

Importance of neonatal care in the case of newborn babies  

The majority of newborns that are admitted to the NICU are preterm (born before 37 weeks of pregnancy), have low birth weights (7lb 8oz for boys and 7lb 4oz for girls), or have medical issues requiring specialized care. It is estimated that around 58,000 infants are born prematurely in the UK each year. Accordingly, 1 in 13 babies born in the UK will be born prematurely (before 37 weeks of pregnancy). The most current data show that preterm births are increasing. The overall percentage of preterm live births grew from 7.4% in 2020 to 7.6% in 2021. Based on the report, Black babies have had the greatest percentage of preterm deliveries. Preterm births made up 8.7% of live births in the Black ethnic group in 2021. In NICU mainly admitted and provide special care to twins, triplets, and other multiples. The NICU also provides treatment for infants who have medical conditions such as breathing difficulties, cardiac issues, infections, or birth abnormalities. The following point shows certain circumstances for admitting babies to the NICU

The reasons for a baby's admittance to the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) 

There are different reasons for admitting newborns to neonatal care some of the reasons are listed below. 

  • The most frequent cause of a baby's admission to the NICU is preterm delivery. If a child is delivered before 37 full weeks of pregnancy, they are considered preterm. Low birth weight (7lb 8oz for boys and 7lb 4oz for girls), erratic vital signs, and inconsistent temperature are just a few of the issues that preemies may face. A baby's body temperature can be maintained consistently with the aid of an incubator. These infants receive intravenous hydration, high-calorie feeding, and other treatments based on any further problems 
  • A breathing problem in infants caused by immature lungs is known as respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), sometimes known as infant respiratory distress syndrome. A device that forces air into the nose to keep the lungs inflated can be used to treat infants with mild RDS. Babies with severe RDS may also be put on a ventilator in addition to receiving treatment with a breathing tube. 
  • Low blood sugar is typically seen in premature infants, infants whose mothers have gestational diabetes, there is a chance for low blood sugar. 
  • A difficult birth may cause the baby's blood flow and oxygen levels to decline. If this occurs, neonatologists can use whole-body cooling to treat the infant, reducing the risk of harm to the brain from reduced circulation. 
  • Infections such as chlamydia, herpes, or group B streptococcus 
  • Need for special care or actions, like blood transfusion etc. 

Levels in NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) 

There are different stages in NICU treatment in the UK: 

Level one is the special care baby unit (SCBU, SCU, or low dependence)  

For infants who don't require intensive care. SCUB usually applies to newborns who were born after 32 weeks of pregnancy. At this level, neonatal care includes: 

  • Checking their heart rate or breathing 
  • Providing more oxygen to them 
  • Management of low body temperature 
  • Handle diabetes 
  • Feeding assistance, perhaps with the use of a tube 
  • Assisting newborns who experience health issues quickly 

The treatment of jaundice with phototherapy may occasionally be required in some cases. 

Level 2 is a local neonatal unit (LNU) 

It is the next stage of the special care baby unit. This is for infants who require more breastfeeding and medical care. You might be moved to an LNU if your child was born, or will be born, between 27 and 31 weeks of gestation. 

Care for an LNU may consist of: 

  • Intensive short-term care, typically lasting up to 48 hours.
  • Breathing support techniques include short-term ventilation, CPAP therapy, or high-flow therapy. 
  • Take precautions when they experience brief breathing pauses.
  • Parenteral nutrition is the feeding method that involves a drip in the vein. 
  • Before being moved to a neonatal critical care unit cooling treatment is given to infants who had difficult births or who become ill immediately after birth. 
Level 3 is Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) 

This is for infants that require the most support for a period that exceeds 48 hours. These infants frequently were seriously ill after delivery or were born before 28 weeks of gestation. 

  • Need support for their breathing (also known as ventilation). 
  • Managing their blood pressure and heartbeat. 
  • Have respiratory distress, a moderate to severe disease that affects breathing. 
  • Require general nutritional care or longer-term intravenous (intra-venus) tube feeding assistance 
  • Need surgery or have just had surgery, including cooling therapy for brain damage. 

These are a few examples of the specially qualified medical professionals who could look for your infant: 

  • Neonatologist 
  • Neonatal Nurses 
  • Respiratory Therapists 
  • Paediatricians 
  • Occupational and Physical Therapists 
  • Social Workers 
  • Pharmacists 

The neonatal intensive care unit is a place where babies and infants are cared for and neonatal nurses provide the best healthcare services. Compared to other nursing jobs neonatal nursing needs more patience, attention, pampering mentality, at the same time they get high returns based on neonatal nursing qualification and experience, especially in the UK. 

Who are the neonatal nurses and their salaries?  

Neonatal nursing is a branch of nursing that focuses on caring for newborns who are born with illnesses, such as prematurity, birth defects, infection, cardiac deviations, and surgical problems. Neonatal nurses provide care for newborns who face difficulties after birth, but it also includes caring for newborns who face persistent issues due to their preterm or illness.  

Neonatal nurses make more money than regular nurses, neonatal nurse salary around £30,000 and £40,000  in the UK, depending on their education, experience, and expertise. 

You can trust Nurses Group to find the most significant nursing opportunities in the UK because we are one of the best nursing agencies, we offer a wide range of trained nurses and experienced medical specialists. 

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