Friday Fast Five: Meet Jean Powlesland

Each month we interview individuals associated with the Australasian NIDCAP Training Centre and the broader NIDCAP Federation International (NFI) community, asking them five questions that explore their association with our unit and NIDCAP. This month, meet Jean Powlesland NIDCAP Trainer in the American Midwest and Lebanon.

How long have you been associated with the NIDCAP Federation International (NFI)?

 I have been involved with NIDCAP since 1998, when our hospital (University of Illinois at Chicago)competed for a grant that would support it to become  a NIDCAP Training Center. The grant was from a foundation that supported programs that benefit mothers and infants in the underserved areas of Chicago..

What is your role in the NIDCAP international community?

 I have been a NIDCAP Trainer since 2006, training mostly in the American Midwest, and most recently in Lebanon. For the last few years I have acted as the co-chair of the NIDCAP Trainer's Meeting planning committee, so I have the pleasure or organizing the premier networking opportunity for NIDCAP Trainers..

  What has been the most meaningful learning for you during your NIDCAP journey?

I am in awe of how Dr. Als had this vision for this work before there was a lot of evidence to support it. With each passing year, there is more and more data that shows that the components of NIDCAP (family involvement, supporting infant's regulation) is so key to better outcomes. Yet she knew this decades ago!

In your opinion how does NIDCAP potentially benefit newborns, families and staff?

NIDCAP helps parents and the staff to understand what the infant needs, and how to structure the infant's experiences so that it matches their drive to develop. This helps parents learn to be sensitive and responsive, which will support their child as he/her grows.

What do you hope NIDCAP training and training centres achieve now and in the future?

 I think the NIDCAP world wants to see that all newborns and their parents everywhere are treated in a sensitive, supportive fashion. This means we will need to reach out beyond the hospitals and into governmental policies. In the U.S. unfortunately we see many mothers who return to work while their babies are in the hospital because they have no maternity leave; with all the data we have on the importance of the mother's presence in the NICU, how can this be acceptable? We will have to start moving from the NICU's to the capitals.

Editor's note: The views of individuals do not represent the view of the Australasian NIDCAP Training Centre.