Hospital  >  Careers  >  Nursing @ Sunnybrook  >  Programs & Specialties  >  Women & Babies Program  >  Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
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Facts!Many sets of twins, triplets, quadruplets, and Canada's first test-tube quintuplets have been cared for in the NICU since it opened in 1976.

Breast Milk Management System prevents errors in the Neonatal ICU. By ensuring that the right baby gets the right breast milk, Sunnybrook has become a work leader in neonatal patient safety and prevention of medical errors. The implementation of a sophisticated milk management system, using barcodes along with wireless mobile computers and printers, is a world first and received the 2008 Microsoft HUG Health Care Innovation Award for the use of technology to enhance and transform the quality of patient care

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is one of three high-risk regional neonatal nurseries serving the Central East Region of Ontario and consists of 41 beds.  Nurses provide highly specialized and integrated family-centered care to infants who are ill or premature, and require intensive and advanced neonatal care.  Our Women & Babies Program manages approximately 4,000 deliveries per year. Twenty-five percent of these are high-risk referrals. High-risk pregnancies present a significant potential for the delivery of infants requiring neonatal intensive care.

The NICU is well known for its exceptional care of tiny infants, with a large number of our patients are born at less than 32 weeks gestation and weigh less than 1500 grams. We also have a significant portion of our infants who are born at less than 27 weeks gestation and have a birth weight of less than 1000 grams.  This is a highly technical, challenging and rewarding area of nursing. We have a strong focus on family-centered care, which means our NICU nurses care for infants as well as provide care, support, and education to families. Newborns in the NICU often suffer from multiple complications requiring a range of medical, technological, and surgical interventions.

Why is this an exciting place to work?

  • Active participation in unit administration through membership on committees in quality improvements within the NICU
    • "Great multidisciplinary team to work with and be a part of: I really feel like my voice is heard"
      NICU RN (20 years experience)
  • Neonatal nursing is a dynamic, exciting field that presents many opportunities for the realization of lifetime career goals.
    • "Neonatal nursing is different from other fields of nursing It is high-tech, cutting edge nursing"
      NICU RN (5 years experience)
  • We offer a fully supported orientation program to prepare you for clinical practice, and we are committed to encouraging and providing opportunities for lifelong learning.
    • "You will be challenged by your tiny patients, and feel rewarded for your dedication"
      NICU RN (3 years experience)
  • Our family centered approach allows for the building of rewarding therapeutic relationships
    • "Everyone makes us feel involved in our baby's life"
      NICU Parent
    • "We are part of the NICU family"
      NICU Parent
  • We value quality of work life and job satisfaction, and work hard to build a strong, cohesive team.
    • "You are never alone in this unit. We work together to achieve a supportive environment."
      NICU RN (20 years experience)

NICU nurses have special skills:

  • Neonatal resuscitation and stabilization
  • IV initiation
  • Venipuncture
  • Obtaining blood from arterial lines
  • Management of central lines
  • Care of the ventilated neonate including high frequency ventilation
  • Breastfeeding skills for premature infants
  • On-going education opportunities and support for education

Nurses are supported in the advancement of their knowledge, skills & judgement by:

  • Leading research projects focusing on clinical issues in neonatology
  • Contributing to project such as the award winning project for feeding administration system; bar coding for the administration of neonatal feeds
  • Being recognized as a leader in the care of infants who are extremely low birth weight
  • Leading in patient safety and continuous quality improvement projects.
  • Partnering and leading in the Vermont Oxford Database
  • Membership in the Canadian Neonatal Network the Child Health Network
  • Collaboration with the Children's Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai China, the Canadian Neonatal Network for education of physicians, nursing and respiratory therapy staff. This includes the development of a nursing education program for Chinese nurses in China and in Canada.
  • Receiving feedback from parents through the use of a post discharge or transfer survey.

Other information:

  • Nurse to patient ratio per shift :
    • 1 to 2 or 1 to 3
  • 12-hour shifts available (2D/2N and traditional)