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What do you do, Nikki?

Nikki is a junior doctor and a fellow at Evelina London
Colourful question marks drawn by a child

Nicola Crowley is a doctor at Evelina London

September 2021

What is your current role?

Hello, I’m Nikki. I am a doctor in my final training year to become a neonatologist. Neonatologists are are doctors who take care of newborn babies. I am also a Darzi fellow. As part of my fellowship, I have been co-leader for the introduction of a new model of care on the neonatal unit called Family Integrated Care (FICare)

FICare ensures parents are involved in caring for and making decisions about their unwell or premature baby as soon as possible, with support from the clinical team. This model of care has proven clinical benefits for the baby and psychological benefits for their parents. Research shows 80% of parents whose babies were on a neonatal unit think their mental health suffered from the experience. FICare is a move away from more traditional models of neonatal care, where parents were less actively involved in their baby’s care.

What’s it like to work at Evelina London?

Evelina London has a kind of energy that I have never experienced as a trainee doctor anywhere before. The positive energy is almost infectious as everyone is working together to deliver the very best care. No ask is ever too big, especially if it involves doing something that would benefit our patients.

The opportunities for learning and training are vast, with all members of the team keen to teach. There is also a strong ethos of listening and learning from our patients and their parents.

Most importantly, staff care about and are kind to one another, making the time at work fun.

What is your passion?

I am passionate about delivering exceptionally high quality clinical care to babies and making sure their parents are as involved in their baby’s care as possible. This means helping parents to perform all the tasks they would do if they were at home with their baby, as soon as they feel able to, and enabling them to make positive memories during their baby’s journey. These are parts of my job that I thoroughly enjoy and feel honoured to be able to assist with. I feel we should celebrate just how amazing our patients and families are.

What’s your favourite part of your job?

I get the greatest job satisfaction from watching a baby, who has been extremely unwell, reach that moment where their parents can take them home (often several months after they were born). Being a neonatologist is not just about looking after babies, it is also about supporting their parents. As a team, we form close bonds with families, and it is incredible to see the happiness when the next part of the journey as a family begins as they leave the neonatal unit. We are fortunate to be able to complete the circle when they return to visit us on the ward or when they come back to the hospital for appointments.

What was your proudest moment?

My proudest moment professionally is from May this year when we launched the Evelina London family integrated care programme (FICare) on the neonatal unit. Seeing us come together as one neonatal community to celebrate the programme designed to benefit future babies and their parents, at the virtual event, was something I will always remember and cherish.

My proudest personal moment from this year is being awarded a distinction in my PG Cert in Health leadership. This was particularly challenging as I had to adapt to online learning and balance the demands of coursework with, co-leading the FICare programme and lockdown family life.

Being part of Evelina London means…

Going out of our way to achieve the very best for our patients and their families. From a training perspective, it means receiving excellent training alongside having the opportunity to be innovative to make positive changes to benefit both our patients and staff. I am extremely proud to be part of the Evelina London team.

Colourful question marks drawn by a child

Thank you to the children and young people who have so brilliantly illustrated our blog pages.

What do you do?

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