Friday Fast Five - Meet Jim Helm

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 Jim Helm PhD, Infant-Family Specialist, NIDCAP Trainer Carolina NIDCAP Training Center Raleigh, USA and NFI Board Member.

How long have you been associated with the in NFI? I was first trained by Dr gretchen Lawhon in 1987 and then certified as a trainer by Dr Heidelise Als in 1989.  After 10 years of NIDCAP Trainers Meetings I was then part of the group that determined that an organization was needed to bring together 'NIDCAPpers' and the NFI was formed in 2001.

What is your role in the NIDCAP international community? I’ve been on the NFI’s Board of Directions since the NFI was founded and have served in many capacities.  I’ve chaired the governance and advancement committees,  as well as led activities such as nominations and elections, financial oversight, and have served as Vice President of the Board.  I think most people know me through their membership since I manage member services.  I’ve also hosted 4, soon to be 5, NIDCAP Trainers Meetings and attended every one. 

What has been the most  meaningful learning for you during your NIDCAP journey? How important and transformative it can be.  Once one learns the language of the newborn from a synactive perspective he or she will always see and understand infant behaviors in this new way.  Over and over students, trainees, families report how this training changes their relationships with infants.

How does NIDCAP, in your opinion,  potentially benefit newborns, families and staff? As above, I think the approach changes relationships.  Those changes can support a more easily regulated infant/child; can improve the “goodness of fit” of the parent-child relationship; and can lead to more satisfying work experiences for staff. 

What is your hope for NIDCAP Training Centers now and in the future. I hope that training centers continue to develop their own programs, become Certified NIDCAP Nurseries and examples for their communities and networks.  If we can enter preservice training the request for nursery training should increase as new leaders learn the importance of protecting the brain.  Modern NICUs support fragile physiology, are vigilant hand-washers and must make every effort to protect and support the brain during every aspect of care.  This is a NIDCAP goal, and as we say “one brain for life”.

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