Friday Fast Five - meet Rachael Fallon

In our Friday Fast Five series we interview individuals associated with the Australasian NIDCAP Training Centre based at Grace Centre for Newborn Intensive Care and the broader NIDCAP Federation International (NFI) community, asking them five questions that explore their association with our unit and NIDCAP. This month, meet Rachael Fallon, Occupational Therapist and NIDCAP Trainee. 

Where do you work and what is your role? I am an Occupational Therapist at the John Hunter Children’s Hospital in Newcastle. I work with infants in the NICU/SCU environment and in the Follow Up Clinic.

What made you decide to undertake NIDCAP training? Assessing and supporting infants in our follow up clinic has fuelled my passion for working in the neurodevelopmental care space. I feel it is amazing that we can enable parents and caregivers to have a positive impact on their baby’s brain development in the neonatal stage, which can promote long term benefits on developmental outcomes. Over the last few years, I have seen the positive changes in practise in our NICU and SCU after a large group of nursing, medical and allied health staff attended FINE 1 training together. This motivated me to continue with FINE 2 training and I feel lucky to have the opportunity to undertake NIDCAP training which I feel will really help to further imbed neurodevelopmental care into the daily practise in unit.

In your opinion, how does NIDCAP potentially benefit neonates, families and staff? I believe NIDCAP will enable families and staff to feel truly confident to be able to observe and interpret the neonates’ cues which will empower them to be able to provide timely, individualised care that will decrease stress and potentially damaging effects on the neonate’s brain development. NIDCAP will assist in educating staff to then be able to share with parents the strategies that will enable them to have a positive impact on their baby’s developmental potential in an environment that can be so medically orientated and overwhelming.

What are you hoping to achieve personally and professionally by completing NIDCAP training? I feel I have so much knowledge to share in regard to neurodevelopmental care, but that sometimes the logistical and practical barriers in the unit prevent me from achieving my goals. I am hoping that NIDCAP will help me to further develop my confidence and stay motivated to push forward with advocating for neurodevelopmental care strategies to become ingrained in the daily practises within the unit.

How do you anticipate you will incorporate NIDCAP within your clinical setting and role? NIDCAP will assist our team to further develop the way we carry out our developmental care rounds with full multi-disciplinary involvement and by adding the observational element to ensure the round is capturing the neonate’s behaviour during episodes of caregiving so that individualised goals can be set in conjunction with the neonate’s family to best support their NICU journey.