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Neonatal Intensive Care Unit shortlisted for Neonatal Nurses Association Awards 2023

Bex Clarke, NICU Staff Nurse and Cass Rogers, NICU Sister

Bex Clarke, NICU Staff Nurse and Cass Rogers, NICU Sister

Cassie Rogers and Bex Clarke, from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust (UHP), were recently shortlisted for the Neonatal Nurses Association (NNA) Team of the Year award.

The Plymouth NICU cares for babies born in Plymouth and other hospitals in the south west region who are born much earlier than expected (preterm) or who require intensive care if they are very poorly when born at full term.

The NNA award acknowledges a neonatal team and their incredible efforts, even during incredibly challenging times, to improve the neonatal experience for colleagues, babies, and families.

Róisín McKeon-Carter, Chair of the Neonatal Nurses Association, said: “The Neonatal Nurses Association searches nationally across all the neonatal units in the UK for the best work and contributions that neonatal nurses deliver in their roles. Each year we celebrate and reward these neonatal champions by awarding them with national recognised awards.

“Cassie and Bex were shortlisted for this award for their innovative working with other specialties, wider teams within the Trust, collaborative parallel planning, and showing commitment and determination to providing optimal neonatal care for babies and their families.”

Last year, UHP officially opened its newly transformed Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Secret Garden, the first of its kind in the south of England. The bespoke outdoor rehabilitation space now enables ICU ventilated patients to breathe fresh air in the company of their families, loved ones and carers. The NICU team have been keen to make sure that babies from the unit are also able to benefit from the garden.

Kate Tantam, ICU Specialist Sister, adds: “The Critical Care team were thrilled to be able to support the NICU team in their aspiration for providing fresh air care for their babies. The Secret Garden is a space for everyone who needs it and we can't wait to support even more babies and families to enjoy the space wherever they are on their journey at UHP.”

The NICU team at UHP are keen regulars at the NNA awards. Last year, Jo Bennett, a Neonatal Nurse at UHP, won the Neonatal Nurse of the Year award. She said: “I wanted to put the award money to best use for families and, with the current cost of living crisis, help alleviate some of the pressures whilst they have a baby on the neonatal unit.

“I purchased a good stock of £40 Tesco vouchers to be given to parents to help with food, nappies, baby clothes etc. I also made up some emergency toiletry packs. These are for parents who might be staying in the parent accommodation but do not have access to their own toiletries.”

The NICU provides 14 intensive high dependency and six special care cots. They also host the regional retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) treatment centre for the Peninsula within the NICU footprint in a specially configured treatment / intensive care room.

To find out more about Plymouth NICU please visit: https://www.plymouthhospitals.nhs.uk/nicu

You can also find out more about other initiatives led by the NICU team, such as the ‘Cuddle Bundle’ initiative to encourage more parents to have skin-to-skin contact with their babies during their stay in hospital, here: https://www.plymouthhospitals.nhs.uk/latest-news/initiative-to-encourage-more-cuddles-for-poorly-babies-in-the-nicu-5635

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