Mid-Atlantic and Lower Great Lakes Region

Advance for Nursing • January 2017

Mid-Atlantic & Lower Great Lakes Region Janette Benson, BS, BSN, RNC-NIC​ 12 • ADVANCE FOR NURSING • January 2017 Mary’s work at both campuses, so the parents and babies develop relationships with the physicians and advanced practice providers. The last step in the process was to develop a way to physically move the babies from Muskegon to Grand Rapids. In January 2016, Mercy Health created a NICU Transport Unit by mobilizing its NICU Transport Team. Answering the Call Mercy Health specially modified and equipped an ambulance to create a mobile NICU transport vehicle. The ambulance contains all the necessary items for a NICU, including a transport-safe neonatal incubator, a fluid-based mattress that helps control the baby's temperature, a refrigerator for medication and humidified oxygen. Upon receiving a call from the Muskegon campus, the NICU Transport Team mobilizes. The nurse, an advanced practice provider and a respiratory therapist collect the specialized equipment and call for the ambulance. They are on the road within 60 minutes. They monitor the infant for any changes throughout the transport and then stabilize the infant with the providers in Muskegon. As the nurses and the mobile unit bring the NICU directly to the patients, the nurses must be creative, flexible and forward-thinking to anticipate any needs prior to mobilizing the baby. Thanks to their rigorous training, once on the road, transport nurses can think critically and react quickly to any biophysical changes that occur. They also need to know where to find resources within a facility that is not their primary workplace. Within a transport team of three, the nurse carries a lot of responsibility and oversees a variety of transport situations. Much like fingerprints, each transport is unique: Nurses never have the same experience twice. Transporting Hope In its first 8 months, the Mercy Health NICU Transport Unit transferred 36 infants from Muskegon to Grand Rapids, meeting the program’s goals. All transferred babies went home to their families without complications. Guided by Mercy Health, the NICU Transport team puts the patient front and center, bringing neonatal intensive care patients to wherever they will get the best care. Increasing collaboration between campuses raises the quality of care for everyone. The NICU Transport nurses are excited to see where they might go next. Janette Benson is the NICU transport coordinator for Mercy Health West Michigan. IN ORDER FOR THE SPECIAL CARE nursery at Mercy Health Hackley Campus in Muskegon, Mich., to achieve Level II designation, nurses and administrators devised a specialized mobile NICU unit and transport team to transfer babies from Muskegon to the Level III NICU at Mercy Health Saint Mary's Campus in Grand Rapids, Mich., about 40 miles away—giving the tiniest patients consistent, collaborative care. Staying In-System Helps Babies and Parents Before Mercy Health began its mobile NICU Transport Unit, any babies born at Mercy Health Muskegon who needed sustained respiratory care or who were born at less than 32 weeks’ gestation were transferred to a Level III facility that was out of the hospital’s system. Transferring out-of-system compromised care coordination and made it more difficult for parents, who had to travel to be with their babies during an already challenging time. Mercy Health wanted to keep the babies in-system to streamline the care process NICU professionals from Mercy Health Saint The nurses must be creative, flexible and forwardthinking to anticipate any needs prior to mobilizing. Mobilizing the NICU Nurses care for infants on the road Mercy Health specially modified and equipped an ambulance to create a mobile NICU transport vehicle.


Advance for Nursing • January 2017
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