From Patient to Provider – My Time in the NICU/CICU at CHOP

Megan Laubacher, NUR ’24, Spencerport, NY

This summer, I had the opportunity to work on a research study with Neoneur at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Neoneur is a tele-health device that monitors infants’ respiration and sucking patterns while they are beginning to feed orally. This study was conducted in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU), and was focused on the feeding patterns of premature infants and infants in recovery from a cardiac surgery.

It was an incredibly fascinating project from the start, as I began with literature searches and reviews. I collected and summarized valuable resources that could be used to create a device website that is digestible for parents. I also designed an infographic for parents to have when deciding whether to enroll their child in the study. I attended zoom meetings with colleagues in the UK performing the same study, and even began planning to write a grant for a second part to the study focused on parental perception of feeding status.

When we began to transition from preparation to clinical trials, I had the pleasure of meeting parents and their infants, and explaining the study to them. I also prepared the feeding kits, consent forms, and data tracking sheets, and communicated with the contractor, nurses, research assistant, and speech therapists on the study to ensure all the parts of the study were in place. Finally, I was an integral part of the feeding team, as I would attend all the infant feedings to build the bottle, Bluetooth pair the device, and record infant respiration, heart rate, oxygen saturation, and abnormal events during the feeding.

Meeting the families and being a part of the feedings was an experience that hit extremely close to home, as I found this study through personal experience. I was born with a congenital heart defect, coarctation of the aorta, and have even stayed on the CICU floor of CHOP following a stent placement. It was surreal being on the other side of things, that is being on the care team, and I felt a deep empathy for the families I met. I am incredibly grateful for this summer experience, and am grateful that I was asked to return for the second phase of trials this fall.

This is part of a series of posts by recipients of the 2022 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they spent their summer. You can read the entire series here.

By Career Services
Career Services