First of all I think it is really important to get involved with the care of the premature baby right from the start.
So many times these parents of premature babies, when they are in the neonatal intensive care unit and
they are surrounded by all of the technology in the unit they don’t feel comfortable with getting involved in
that baby’s care.
So I would say first off it’s important to begin to get involved with the baby’s care, to ask the staff who are
caring for the baby, what are some of the things that I can do to help my baby and to take care of my baby
while I am in the neonatal intensive care unit?
It’s also really important that parents realize that they have a very special little baby in front of them. So
many times when babies are born prematurely parents are thinking about all of the negative outcomes of
premature birth. What, will my baby have developed mental disabilities? Will they not be able to grow and
And even though babies are born prematurely and some, much more than others, I want to reassure parents
that most of these babies catch up and do absolutely beautiful as they grow.
Bernadette Melnyk Dean, The College of Nursing, OSU
Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk, PhD, RN, CPNP/PMHNP, FNAP, FAAN, is dean of the College of Nursing, associate vice president for health promotion, and chief wellness officer of Ohio State University since Sept. 15, 2011. She is spearheading health promotion and wellness programs to enhance the highest level of health, and to prevent physical and mental health disorders among faculty, staff and students.
Melnyk is a widely recognized expert in evidence-based practice, intervention research, and child
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