Friday Fast Five: Meet Monique Oude Reimer-van Kilsdonk

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 Monique Oude Reimer-van Kilsdonk, Registered Nurse NIDCAP Trainer and Consultant Sophia NIDCAP Training Center, The Netherlands and FINE Co-Director.

How long have you been associated with the NIDCAP Federation international (NFI)?I started my NIDCAP Training in 2000 with Agneta Kleberg in Sweden.  My nurse manager offered me the opportunity to start NIDCAP Training. Initially I was not too excited as I did not know what to expect. However Agneta taught me through her wisdom and enthusiasm the language of the newborn baby in a NICU. I was fascinated by what she was telling me and eager to learn more about observing the behaviour of the babies in our unit. 

With the arrival of Dr. Nikk Conneman in 2004 on our Department we had the opportunity to become a NIDCAP training center. His experience as a NIDCAP trainer and experience as a coworker from Dr Heidelise Als, provided a good base and helped us to grow.  Preparation and implementation of our training Center took us nearly one year. When our center first opened I worked as a NIDCAP consultant in a part-time job which soon developed into a full time position. For me it was a beginning of an incredible NIDCAP career. 

I remember my first meeting with the people of the NFI. It was at the Trainers meeting in Cincinnati. I was very honored to meet all this people and looked up to them. Even now I am always looking forward to the annual NFI meeting but now it feels more like a Family reunion. 

What is your role in the NIDCAP International Community? I am now a NIDCAP Trainer which helps me to train people in my own country and internationally. In the Dutch Newborn Intensive Care system we transfer the babies to a High Care Unit (HCU) in our region if they don't need ventilatory support anymore. Most of the HCU’s in our region have NIDCAP trained people and is important to keep a high standard of NIDCAP implementation in this units. I see it as one of my goals to coach and support these units. 

Apart from supporting these Hospitals and families, my other goal is to educate the nursing and medical bedside staff. Initially, Dr. Conneman and I tried this by organizing one day lectures complemented by occasional bedside support. We learned that this was not enough. With Inga Warren (senior NIDCAP Trainer, NIDCAP Training Center UK) and support from our nurse manager, we developed an educational program; known as FINE ( Family and Infant Neurodevelopmental Education).  The FINE program is inspired by NIDCAP and has incorporated ideas from other sources.  We are indebted to colleagues around the world who have shared their wisdom and experience in the development of this program. FINE is a curriculum for all neonatal healthcare professionals. It provides a high quality educational pathway for family centered developmental care and introduces the principles of evidenced based neurodevelopmental care practices to a wide audience. Through this program I see interest in Family Centered and Individual Care increasing. Babies and Families are increasingly seen as the most important people in the NICU and parents are learning the language of their baby. I believe that this helps the Family “survive" the neonatal period in a Hospital

What has been the most meaningful learning for you during your NIDCAP Journey? That NIDCAP implementation really is a journey. The NIDCAP principles are simple however the introduction of NIDCAP is less simple than it may seem in theory. The learning process doesn't stop at the end of your training. Every day I learn more; From the children, their Families, My colleagues and my Trainees. But I also learnt that you can't do it on your own. You need a multidisciplinary team with passion that can work together, reflect on their own behaviour and support each other. For me good relationships and team spirit is important in my work. I have learnt that it is a matter of giving and taking.

In your opinion how does NIDCAP potentially benefit newborns, families and staff? NIDCAP works! Of course we have the research to support it, yet you can also see it on a daily basis. If you observe the baby and respond to what the baby is telling you, you can see a relaxed baby with beautiful efforts to self-regulate. Families who became parents in the NICU within the NIDCAP model really feel they are parents, even in a difficult situation and foreign environment. If you have seen, felt and lived NIDCAP, you can never go back or think in a different way. It changes your mind and way of living.

I have seen colleagues who changed and who were willing to adapt the care of the individual baby, even if it was difficult at times for them they kept on listening to the voice of the baby and Family.  I am so proud of them!One of my trainees told me, after NIDCAP certification: It changed my work, my life.  I am happy to see a baby who is a part of a Family. And I am part of them and can coach them on their way home.  What an enrichment!

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