Friday Fast Five: Meet Dr Juzer Tyebkhan

Each month we interview individuals associated with the Australasian NIDCAP Training Centre and the broader NIDCAP Federation International (NFI) community, asking them 5 questions that explore their association with our unit and NIDCAP. This month meet Dr Juzer Tyebkhan, Neonatologist and NIDCAP Trainer Edmonton, Canada.

How long have you been associated with the NIDCAP Federation International (NFI)? I began learning about NIDCAP in 1996, before the NIDCAP Federation was formally established.  In the fall of 1996, our nursing staff had organized a Journal Club, where Dr Als’ paper  - JAMA, 1994; the Boston Randomised Controlled Trial of NIDCAP – was discussed, which led to us thinking, “What is this thing called NIDCAP that made such a difference for preterm babies?  Should we do a study of NIDCAP in Edmonton?”…… and thus began my journey with NIDCAP and the NFI.

What is your role in the NIDCAP international community? I am a NIDCAP Trainer at the Edmonton NIDCAP Training Centre Canada. We are the only NIDCAP Training Centre in Canada, and opened in the fall of 2017.

What has been the most meaningful learning for you during your NIDCAP journey? It’s not about doing “things” to the babies – its doing “with” the babies and their families; and often, what we then do with the baby and family, is not what we [in the NICU] would ever have thought of.

In your opinion how does NIDCAP potentially benefit newborns, families and staff? We know from our research and that of others, that NIDCAP improves outcome for preterm babies – it is truly Brain Protective.  But the real “learning” came from realising that it is the result of helping the parents [family] truly become parents, and take charge of their baby’s care while their baby is in the NICU, that makes the improvement happen.   Recent work from the areas of Developmental Pediatrics, Infant Mental Health and Family Centered Care, have informed us of what children need to attain their potential.  This research the importance of NIDCAP as an evidence-based, practical framework that builds the foundation of that potential.  The impact is life-long.  For us as NICU staff, knowing we have done the best we possibly can for the babies that we look after, is immensely gratifying.

What do you hope NIDCAP training centres achieve now and in the future? I hope that the principles of NIDCAP Brain Supportive care find their way into the caregiving practices of everyone who works in NICUs, across Canada and further afield.  We do need to make use of technology and modern methods of communication so that the educational components of NIDCAP are more accessible to those who want them.  The NIDCAP Federation has recently begun some projects that address this need. We are anticipating international participation and collaboration from NIDCAP Training Centres across the globe, as we create these new educational resources.