Up to 50% of babies who start their lives on a neonatal unit will go on to present with sensory processing differences which can significantly impact quality of life for both a child and their family. As part of my role as a Neonatal OT I am dedicated to working with the nursing team and families to improve sensory developmental care. This is a key part of true Early Intervention whilst also promoting awareness of the value of Occupational Therapy as regional neonatal networks move closer to enhancing Allied Health Profession (AHP) provision. With seed funding from our ward neonatal charity, Tiny Lives Trust, we were able to gain evidence of the benefit and need for specific collaborative working on this. The NNA education scholarship will build upon last year’s project by facilitating Nursing Sensory Champions to complete the Sensory Babies Course and work alongside OT to embed improved practice within the culture of the unit within a designated action plan.
I am very grateful to have been awarded a NNA scholarship. I have worked in neonates since qualifying as a paediatric nurse in 2011, and qualified as an Advanced Neonatal Nurse Practitioner in 2020 following undertaking an MSc in Advanced Practice at the University of Southampton. For my MSc dissertation I am undertaking a Quality Improvement Project and am excited to move forward with the project with help from the NNA scholarship . Working in a busy Tertiary Level 3 unit the environment can sometimes generate a lot of noise which has been linked to poorer neurodevelopmental outcomes. My QI project involves measuring the current sound levels on the unit and comparing them to guidelines recommended by the American Academy of Paediatrics. With the help of the NNA scholarship I am able to purchase a meter that will accurately collect sound levels and analyse the data. This information can be disseminated to staff members along with education on the short-term and long-term impacts of noise in neonates. The aim of the project is to reduce noise levels within the neonatal environment to promote optimal neuro-development. This project is part of a wider vision to improve neuroprotection and family-integrated care on our unit.
“This project consists in a small service evaluation project looking into the experience of our neonatal nurses using the Intraventricular Haemorraghe (IVH) Care bundle.The IVH bundle wasintroducedinour unit at UCLHearlier this year and aims to reduce the incidence and severity of IVH in babies born at less than 30 weeks gestational age. There is much research surrounding the effectivenessof using an IVHbundlebut this research focuses solely on theoutcome ofincidence and severity of IVH.Whilst the research has been varied in terms of the effectiveness of the bundle,I have foundnoresearchrelating tonursingthe baby whilst they are on the bundle.
This project will enable me to investigate what is working well and where the challenges lie which will help us to improve how we educate and support our nurses.This will ultimately improve the care of our smallest, most vulnerable babies.”