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Why Every NICU is a NeuroNICU

Decade after decade, long-term neurodevelopmental follow-up studies from the US and Europe have shown us that although neonatal survival continues to improve, there has been almost no improvement in the rates of common neurologic morbidities, especially for preterm infants. 

In response to this reality, Neonatal Neuro-Intensive care units (or NeuroNICU’s) have been gaining in popularity in recent years around the globe.  



For many clinicians, the term NeuroNICU implies a physical space or formalized program, separate from the “regular” NICU.  However, my concept of what a NeuroNICU is might be a bit different from what you first imagined or even what your NICU has been trying to create.  

To me, a NeuroNICU does not require a separate physical space, it’s not just offering a special procedure (like cooling), or having a piece of equipment (like aEEG).  It’s more about a philosophy or standard of care that can be applied in every nursery, every NICU, every day, anywhere in the world. 



To create a Neuro-Nurturing NICU it begins with taking a moment to step back and choosing to examine where your practice is today – both your personal practice and your entire unit practice. And I don’t mean where you think your NICU is, but where you really are, using data!

Do you want to transform your unit in to a more Neuro-Nurturing NICU, but don’t know where to start?

As a first step – you can download our FREE Neuro-Nurturing NICU Quick Start Guide & watch our new video series to get started on transforming your NICU into a Neuro-Nurturing NICU today!

In the Quick Start Guide you will find:

  • An overview of the 4 pillars of Neuro-Nurtuirng NICU Care opportunities
  • A review of one of the most common Quality Improvement methods – The PDSA Cycle – Plan, Do, Study, Act
  • Pitfalls to avoid when translating new science in to clinical practice
  • Numerous project ideas for turning your NICU in to a Neuro-Nurturing NICU
  • Additional resources to keep you going, growing, and learning
  • A framework for evaluating your current NICU practice and identifying potential gaps

Although there is considerable variability in NeuroNICU programs, a common goal is to improve long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes for all infants. To turn this goal in to a reality, I believe it all starts with ONE person with ONE vision!

At Synpase Care Solutions, we firmly believe that ONE person, on ONE shift, with ONE baby and ONE family can really make a difference!  And that ONE person, is YOU!

Where will you begin? – This is up to you.  

When will you begin? – I hope it is now!

Click below to download our Neuro-Nurturing NICU Quick Start Guide.


Blog written by Sarah Bakke

Sarah Bakke, BSN, RNC-NIC


Sarah started her career in a level III NICU in Indiana, and has worked in both level III and IV NICUs over the course of her career.  She is currently a staff nurse in the NICU at the Nemours Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, DE, and is working towards her MSN as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Drexel University.  She has led a number of neuroprotective initiatives during her time at Nemours including launching a language nutrition program, founding a multidisciplinary NeuroNICU committee, and organizing quality improvement projects.  Sarah is passionate about all things NeuroNICU.

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