A neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), also known as an intensive care nursery (ICN), is an intensive care unit specializing in the care of ill or premature newborn infants.
The first American newborn intensive care unit, designed by Louis Gluck, was opened in October 1960 at Yale–New Haven Hospital
NICU is typically directed by one or more neonatologists and staffed by nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, physician assistants, resident physicians, respiratory therapists, and dietitians. Many other ancillary disciplines and specialists are available at larger units.
The term neonatal comes from neo, “new”, and natal, “pertaining to birth or origin”
Neonatal nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses that care for premature babies and sick newborns in intensive care units, emergency rooms, delivery rooms, and special clinics. Prematurity is a risk factor that follows early labour, a planned caesarean section, or pre-eclampsia.