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Keywords:

  • Clinical competence;
  • Infant;
  • Newborn;
  • Nurse's role;
  • *Resuscitation/mt [Methods]

Abstract

Aim: To determine the safety and efficacy of neonatal nurses attending at-risk deliveries.

Methods: An audit of 2 years of delivery attendance by neonatal nurses at an urban hospital. Attendance also by a paediatrician if expected birth weight <2 kg, gestation < 35 weeks, twin pregnancy, foetal distress or any anomaly anticipated to seriously affect the newborn's health.

Results: About 3021 deliveries were attended, 2228 (74%) by a neonatal nurse, 776 (25%) by a neonatal nurse and a paediatrician and 17 (1%) by a paediatrician. Twenty-three children required intermittent positive pressure ventilation via endotracheal tube and/or cardiac massage. All but five of these were deliveries where both a neonatal nurse and a paediatrician were present. Three of these five deliveries had foetal tachycardia.

There were 33 deliveries managed by the neonatal nurse alone where the 1-min Apgar was three or less. All achieved a 10-min Apgar of seven or greater. Over the study interval, the proportion of deliveries attended only by a neonatal nurse increased and intensity of resuscitation administered decreased.

Conclusion: Appropriately trained neonatal nurses can safely resuscitate newborns. Addition of foetal tachycardia to the indications for paediatrician attendance identifies infants likely to require more resuscitation.