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Education & training of the multidisciplinary team working in neonatology


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Although the outcomes of neonatal patients have been shown to be associated with the level of training of medical and nursing staff (1,2), neonatal care is not a recognised subspecialty in paediatrics in several European countries. Sadly, there is not even a commonly agreed minimal training syllabus for neonatologists nor for neonatal nurses in Europe, resulting in a lack of consistency in quality of care for preterm and ill babies between different countries, regions, and even hospitals.

This panel of experts strongly believes that existing neonatal training programmes, like the one issued by the European Society for Neonatology (3), taking evidence-based practices into account (4), need to be promoted and a minimum degree level of preparation as well as post degree specialisation of neonatal care is required. Given the complexity of the healthcare needs and the range of healthcare providers involved in the care of neonatal patients, interprofessional education is necessary to provide care by a multidisciplinary team working effectively together. (5) The inclusion of simulation in education and training, including basic life support training, is critical for the delivery of safe clinical care. (6–9) Continuous professional development is essential in order to keep up with the scientific and technological changes that are occurring in healthcare settings. (10)  Also, parents should be offered education, training, and support in specific skills, to ensure they become an integral part of the neonatal team, and confident caregivers for their infant both in the neonatal unit and after discharge. (11)

The Topic Expert Group on Education and training of the multidisciplinary team working in neonatology developed standards to address the above mentioned needs related to education and training requirements for neonatal health practitioners.

  1. Lake E, Patrick T, Rogowski J, Horbar J, Staiger D, Cheung R, et al. The Three Es: How Neonatal Staff Doctors’ Education, Experience, and Environments Affect Infant Outcomes. JOGNN. 2010;(39):S97-98.
  2. Lake E, Patrick T, Rogowski J, Horbar J, Staiger D, Cheung R, et al. The Three Es: How Neonatal Staff Nurses’ Education, Experience, and Environments Affect Infant Outcomes. JOGNN. 2010;(39):S97–8.
  3. Breindahl M, Blennow M, Fauchère J-C, Lluch MT, De Luca D, Marlow N, et al. The European database for subspecialist training in neonatology – transparency achieved. Neonatology. 2013;103(1):74–82.
  4. Zeitlin J, Manktelow BN, Piedvache A, Cuttini M, Boyle E, van Heijst A, et al. Use of evidence based practices to improve survival without severe morbidity for very preterm infants: results from the EPICE population based cohort. BMJ. 2016 Jul 5;i2976.
  5. Reeves S, Perrier L, Goldman J, Freeth D, Zwarenstein M. Interprofessional education: effects on professional practice and healthcare outcomes (update). Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Mar 28;(3):CD002213.
  6. Gaba DM. The future vision of simulation in health care. Qual Saf Health Care. 2004 Oct;13 Suppl 1:i2-10.
  7. Stephenson E, Salih Z, Cullen DL. Advanced Practice Nursing Simulation for Neonatal Skill Competency: A Pilot Study for Successful Continuing Education. J Contin Educ Nurs. 2015 Jul;46(7):322–5.
  8. Dempsey E, Pammi M, Ryan AC, Barrington KJ. Standardised formal resuscitation training programmes for reducing mortality and morbidity in newborn infants. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Sep 4;(9):CD009106.
  9. Jansson M, Kääriäinen M, Kyngäs H. Effectiveness of Simulation-Based Education in Critical Care Nurses’ Continuing Education: A Systematic Review. Clin Simul Nurs. 2013 Sep 1;9(9):e355–60.
  10. Cooper E. Creating a culture of professional development: a milestone pathway tool for registered nurses. J Contin Educ Nurs. 2009 Nov;40(11):501–8.
  11. Brett J, Staniszewska S, Newburn M, Jones N, Taylor L. A systematic mapping review of effective interventions for communicating with, supporting and providing information to parents of preterm infants. BMJ Open. 2011 Jun 2;1(1):e000023.

Standards at a glance

  • Download the full set of standards in the field of Education & training