People You May See in the NICU

People You May See in the NICU

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People You May See in the NICU

Your baby is in the NICU. This stands for neonatal intensive care unit. This is a unit for newborns who need special care. Babies may be sent to the NICU if they are born too soon, have problems during birth, or show problems in the first few days of life. The NICU is only for the care of very young infants.

Many of the people who help care for your baby in this unit are described below. They can help answer your questions and address your concerns.

The NICU is also sometimes called the special care baby unit (SCBU).

Doctors and nurses standing in a group.

Regular staff

These providers all give care in the NICU. Many are part of the daily routine in the unit. Some care for the whole unit in shifts. Others are specifically assigned to your baby’s care.

  • RN (registered nurse). Gives bedside nursing care and oversees other nurses.

  • LVN (licensed vocational nurse) or LPN (licensed practical nurse). A nurse who provides care under an RN.

  • Pediatrician. A doctor who treats babies and children.

  • Neonatologist. A pediatrician who specializes in treating newborn babies.

  • Neonatal fellow. A pediatrician in training to become a neonatologist.

  • Resident. A doctor training to become pediatrician, family physician, or other type of specialist..

  • Pharmacist. A health care provider who specializes in medication. He or she makes sure your baby receives the right drug in the correct amount and on schedule.

  • PA (physician assistant) and NP (nurse practitioner). Providers trained to do many of the same tasks as doctors and who are supervised by the neonatologist or attending physician.

  • Respiratory therapist. Manages oxygen and breathing issues.

  • Lactation specialist. Helps mothers and babies with breastfeeding issues.

  • Nutritionist or dietitian. Monitors the nutritional sttus of your baby and makes recommendations with IV and enteral (milk) nutrition.

  • Physical therapist. Helps improve a baby’s movement and strength.

  • Social worker. Helps with nonmedical issues. These include insurance, transportation, and support.


Your baby may be seen by one or more specialists. These doctors focus on the care and treatment of certain body systems.

  • Cardiologist: Heart

  • Endocrinologist: Glands and hormones

  • Gastroenterologist: Digestive system

  • Geneticist: Genetic (inherited) conditions

  • Hematologist: Blood

  • Nephrologist: Kidneys

  • Neurologist: Brain and nervous system

  • Neurosurgeon: Surgery of the brain and nervous system

  • Ophthalmologist: Eyes

  • Pulmonologist: Lungs

  • Urologist: Urinary system and reproductive system