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The Neonatal Microbiome: Implications for Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Nurses

Rodriguez, Jeannie PhD, RN, PNP; Jordan, Sheila MPH, RN; Mutic, Abby MSN, CNM; Thul, Taylor BSN, RN

MCN, The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing: November/December 2017 - Volume 42 - Issue 6 - p 332–337
doi: 10.1097/NMC.0000000000000375
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Nursing care of the neonate in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is complex, due in large part to various physiological challenges. A newer and less well-known physiological consideration is the neonatal microbiome, the community of microorganisms, both helpful and harmful, that inhabit the human body. The neonatal microbiome is influenced by the maternal microbiome, mode of infant birth, and various aspects of NICU care such as feeding choice and use of antibiotics. The composition and diversity of the microbiome is thought to influence key health outcomes including development of necrotizing enterocolitis, late-onset sepsis, altered physical growth, and poor neurodevelopment. Nurses in the NICU play a key role in managing care that can positively influence the microbiome to promote more optimal health outcomes in this vulnerable population of newborns.

Nursing care of babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is complex, due in large part to various physiological challenges, including the neonatal microbiome, the community of microorganisms, both helpful and harmful, that inhabit the human body. Nurses in the NICU play a key role in managing care that can positively influence the microbiome to promote more optimal health outcomes in this vulnerable population of newborn babies.

Jeannie Rodriguez is an Assistant Professor, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, GA. She can be reached via e-mail at jeannie.rodriguez@emory.edu

Sheila Jordan is a Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.

Abby Mutic is a Certified Nurse Midwife, Doctoral Candidate, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.

Taylor Thul is a Doctoral Student, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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