NICU: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Newborns with critical needs require expert and compassionate care.

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, is proud to serve as a regional, national, and international referral center, receiving critically ill newborns from throughout South Florida and Latin America.

premature baby in incubator.
premature baby in incubator.

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital is honored to be designated a Level IV – highest acuity care – neonatal unit, reflecting its capability in caring for the region’s most critically ill newborns. Nicklaus Children’s NICU is a regional and international resource, receiving newborns referred by other neonatal units throughout South Florida, Latin America and the Caribbean. It is dedicated to providing advanced care and hope for families of newborns with complex medical needs.

The 40-bed Level IV unit has earned the confidence of families and referring hospitals near and far. In addition, Nicklaus Children's Hospital also features a state-of-the-art 14-bed private room Level II NICU.

Care for Premature and Critically Ill Children

Nicklaus Children's neonatal intensive care unit provides care for more than 800 critically ill newborns each year. In the past 20 years the NICU, which was the first of its kind in South Florida, has received more than 10,000 premature and critically ill babies from throughout Florida and Central and South America. Most of these neonates were born at community hospitals after a premature or high-risk delivery. Approximately 60 percent of the babies admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit weigh less than three pounds.

Newborns with these and other serious diagnoses are also referred to the NICU:

A Team Approach

Neonatology services at Nicklaus Children's are provided by a team of highly experienced neonatologists who are committed to excellence in neonatal healthcare. The team consists of:

In addition, the division has expedient access to multiple subspecialists, both medical and surgical, who assist us in managing patients with a broad range of complex disorders. The team provides medical care using evidence-based tools, a proficient level of training and education, clinical research and state-of-the-art medical technology. The goal is to provide excellent care and to ensure that each infant achieves his or her full potential.

Treatments and Procedures

Conditions We Treat

LifeFlight®: Neonatal Transport Services

Newborns being transferred from other hospitals to the Nicklaus Children's NICU are transported by the hospital's LifeFlight® Critical Care Transport Services. Nicklaus Children's Hospital LifeFlight® neonatal transport team provides transport of critically ill children from referring hospitals to Nicklaus Children's Hospital pediatric care units. In addition to ground ambulance transports, the LifeFlight program offers neonatal transport via helicopters operated by PHI, Inc., one of the world’s most experienced aircraft operators, and through contracted fixed-wing aircraft charters.

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Gold-Level Patient Care

All three specialized intensive care units at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, including the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU), Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), have each achieved a gold-level Beacon Award for Excellence in patient care from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). Gold is the highest level of Beacon Award recognition. Nicklaus Children’s is one of only two freestanding pediatric hospitals in the nation to have achieved the status of having three ICUs awarded gold-level Beacon Awards.

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Advanced Neonatal Care

To ensure that patients benefit from all the latest advances in neonatal care, the NICU offers the most current monitoring systems, ventilator support and incubators, including Nature's Cradle, a system that replicates the sound and motion of the mother's womb.

The unit provides both invasive and non-invasive monitoring of the newborn's cardiorespiratory system, oxygen, suction and age-appropriate thermoregulation. In addition, each neonate's heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure and oxygen saturation are monitored continuously.

Premature Baby Development

Babies born prematurely may be predisposed to developmental delays in the early years of their lives. That's why Nicklaus Children's Hospital created the Sequential Tracking Evaluation Program (STEP). This special program offers step-by-step interdisciplinary evaluation of the ongoing developmental needs of infants during and after their stay in the NICU. The STEP team carefully evaluates each premature baby's development during the first critical years using an innovative approach of simultaneous evaluations and parent questionnaires.

Featuring the following advancements in Neonatal Care:

  • Intravascular arterial and venous monitoring
  • Pulmonary artery catheterization
  • Subdural and intravascular pressure monitoring with 24 hours/day EEG telemetry
  • High frequency ventilation
  • Apheresis blood treatment (the only one available 24 hours a day)
  • Nitric oxide
  • Access to the latest Neonatal Research Protocols
  • Continuous Video EEG monitoring and recording.

The division is a member of the Vermont Oxford Hospital Trials Group, and participates in research on the developmental outcome of newborns with birth weights less than 1,500 grams.

Total Family Care

Nicklaus Children's Hospital embraces a family centered approach to care. Parents and siblings are welcome 24 hours a day and are encouraged to stay overnight in the unit to form bonds with the newborn and learn care techniques, procedures and adjust to their infant's schedule.

The NICU team fully understands the importance of providing support and care not only for the patient, but also for the entire family. This is accomplished through a multidisciplinary team effort that includes our highly trained and experienced critical care physicians and nurses, as well as full-time psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, child life specialists, patient representatives and clergy.

Nicklaus Children's Hospital NICU staff assesses and provides for each family's special needs in ways that go beyond the ordinary. From the time of admission continuously through to discharge, the team involves families in care decisions and works to ensure that all members of the family understand the care plan and receive the support they need to get through the crisis. The goal is to promote the rapid recovery of critically ill children and neonates, and to help families cope with the challenge and stress of a child's critical illness.

over 800

critically ill newborns are referred each year


private beds in the Level II NICU
featured patient photo.
featured patient photo.

Stories to Inspire

Lana was speechless when she and her partner found out they were expecting triplets after a successful IVF fertility treatment. The couple experienced many emotions, including excitement about growing their family, and concern about whether there would be any health risks associated with carrying the triplets to full term. At 32 weeks, Lana delivered the triplets at Jupiter Medical Center.
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Awards & Associations