Friday Fast Five: Meet Fatima Clemente

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 Fatima Clemente MD, Paediatrician, Sénior Consultant in Neonatology NIDCAP and APIB professional, NIDCAP Trainer at São João NIDCAP Training Center, Portugal.

How long have you been associated with the NIDCAP Federation International (NFI)? I have heard of NIDCAP, for the first time, in a meeting of the French Pediatric Society in Reims, France. It was a workshop by Professor Jacques Sizun's group in 1995. This event has marked me deeply, I was fascinated by it and wanted to learn more about observing the preterm baby´s behavior. I was a young resident at the beginning of my training as a Pediatrician. For me it was a shift on the neonatal care paradigm. How to ensure optimal developmental outcomes for VLBW infants and their families in the intensive care became an important goal in my activity as a doctor. A few years later, in 2003, I met Nikk Conneman and I have begun my NIDCAP journey.

What is your role in the NIDCAP international community? I am a NIDCAP trainer at the São João NIDCAP Training Center in Porto, Portugal. We are the only portuguese center and opened in 2015. We are training mostly in Portugal and Brazil. This current year, I have had the pleasure to be a part of the NIDCAP Trainer´s Meeting planning committee as host center. It has been a challenging but rewarding task and we are delighted to host the annual NFI meeting: it feels more like a “family reunion”!

What has been the most meaningful learning for you during your NIDCAP journey? To have the privilege of observing babies, supporting infant´s regulation and families. 

In your opinion how does NIDCAP potentially benefit newborns, families and staff? NIDCAP brought to our NICU a shift from protocol-based care to strategic process thinking and from task-oriented to relationship-based care. We work on a daily basis with our staff, how to understand and support infants and families, recognising that parents are the most important persons in their infant´s life and they are the infants ‘primary caregivers.

What do you hope NIDCAP training centres achieve now and in the future? We dream of a single room NICU in our hospital, with individual rooms for each baby and family, planning a new NICU according to our philosophy of family centered care. As the only NIDCAP training center in Portugal, we would like to reach out beyond the hospitals into governmental health policies and recommendations to see that all babies and families are treated in a sensitive and supportive fashion.

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