Nursing at the Newborn and Infant Critical Care Unit (NICCU)

Our Expertise

The staff of the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation Newborn and Infant Critical Care Unit provides care for critically ill newborns and infants that are born at other hospitals and transported to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. The majority of infants transferred here are in need of immediate medical or surgical intervention. These infants require intensive nursing care.

Some examples of the children we see include:

  • Newborns and infants with surgical emergencies
  • Medical and surgical conditions associated with complications of extreme prematurity
  • Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, requiring complex cardiopulmonary management and possibly extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)
  • Preterm and term neonates with congenital heart disease, often having multiple other congenital anomalies
  • A host of general pediatric surgical and surgical subspecialty conditions affecting newborns

What Makes Our Unit Special

The Level IV, state-of-the-art Cohen Foundation NICCU is a Tertiary Regional Center. It is located in the Marion and John E. Anderson Pavilion, and specifically designed to address the needs of critically ill infants and promote family-centered care. We are actively involved and included by administrators and physicians in making care decisions and process changes on the unit.

Number of Beds, Volumes and Offerings

  • 58 beds in private or semi-private rooms
  • Approximately 600 admissions of critically ill infants annually requiring neonatal medical and surgical subspecialty services, including ECMO and total body cooling
  • March of Dimes Family Support Center

Training and Mentorship Opportunities

  • Specialized nurse training for ECMO and peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) insertion
  • Versant RN Residency Program
  • Annual Neonatal Conference, designed and coordinated by staff nurses

Social and Bonding Events

  • Biennial Neonatal Reunion and Health Fair
  • Annual Winter Holiday Party

Our Team

The Cohen Foundation NICCU has more than 160 registered nurses (RNs). Twenty-five percent of these RNs have an associate degree, 68 percent have a bachelor of science degree and seven percent have a master of science degree. Certifications in the specialties of neonatal nursing and critical care are held by 15 percent of staff members. In addition, we currently have three certified lactation educators on our team and expect to have more in the near future. In addition, our staff is ethnically diverse, speaking many languages and originating from many countries, reflecting our diverse patient population.

We don't just provide care for children. We care about each other. We frequently reach out to each other for personal and professional support. Teamwork is a necessity in this intensive care environment and something you will encounter here on a daily basis.

Interested in joining our team? Take a look at our current job openings.

Meet One of Our NICCU Nurses

Nancy McNeill came to Children's Hospital Los Angeles as a graduate student and was given many learning opportunities. The first day she entered the NICCU, she knew it's where she wanted to be, and she doesn't plan to leave!

Click here to apply for an RN II NICCU position.

Our Accomplishments

The Cohen Foundation NICCU offers some of the latest advances in medicine. We have one of the first and largest ECMO programs in California, and provide an extensive total body cooling/hypothermia program, nitric oxide therapy and neurally-controlled ventilation.

The NICCU is also a designated California Children's Services Regional Center and is affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. The NICCU has grown to a capacity of 58 beds and treats hundreds of infants annually.

A Premier Nursing Environment

Magnet Initiatives

Flexible Scheduling

Although our RN staff members are issued permanent schedules, there is always the flexibility of trading shifts with one another should the need arise. RNs are able to request time off up to six months in advance, allowing them to plan days off and vacations ahead of time. One of the NICCU staff RNs facilitates the scheduling process with manager oversight.

Collaborative Governance

The NICCU has staff representatives on all four collaborative governance councils, including three members on the House of Representatives. Participation in the councils has allowed our staff to be increasingly involved in decision making and implementation of new educational activities. They have also been able to lead change and transformation at the unit level.

Culture of Safety

Providing a culture of safety for our patients and families is a priority in the NICCU. Parents and families register at the reception desk upon arrival to the unit and are directed to their child’s bedside by the unit assistant after proper hand hygiene.

Also, there is only one entrance to the unit to keep our patients, families and staff safe. Parents are encouraged to notify their nurse or a manager of any patient safety issues. Staff education on patient safety is ongoing, with performance improvement projects in process at all times.

Family-Centered Care

Parents of infants are welcome in the unit at all times. One parent may spend the night beside their child during the night, which allows for parent-infant bonding and opportunities for parent education.

March of Dimes Parent Hour is held each month, focusing on a variety of interesting topics. Past topics include craft activities, facilitated by parents of previous NICCU patients; an hour dedicated to the introduction of Music Therapy for Infants, led by our music therapist; and a presentation by one of the NICCU nurses on Infant Massage.

In addition, the NICCU Family Centered Care Committee sponsors NICCUniversity, an hour designated to teaching parents about various topics regarding the NICCU and its environment. Parents are encouraged to participate in their infant’s care, whenever appropriate.

Learn more about our Magnet initiatives.