In her 22 years as a Brigham NICU nurse, Debby Schlehuber, RN, has seen her share of busy shifts. But few compare to the night she and her colleagues recently experienced when they helped deliver and care for extremely premature twins and triplets – in addition to arranging emergency transfers for two other patients – all in the span of just three hours overnight.
Despite the challenges of managing so many complex cases in rapid succession, BWHers involved said the remarkable outcome is all thanks to a large multidisciplinary team from the NICU and Labor & Delivery whose expert care, collaboration and communication ensured everything fell into place.
Staff across the Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women and Newborns (CWN) said they were grateful to be part of such a collaborative interprofessional team, which included administrative staff, anesthesiologists, Environmental Services staff, midwives, nurses, physicians, respiratory therapists, trainees, unit coordinators and many more. In addition to staff from the overnight and day shifts, the team was supported by several BWHers who offered to assist before or after their shift.
“After that night, I was never prouder to be a Brigham nurse. Everybody came together, and we all knew we needed to work as a team,” said Schlehuber, who was the NICU nurse-in-charge that evening. “I didn’t for one second think, ‘How are we going to do this?’ We always find a way – because it’s all about our patients.”
Nichole Young, BSN, RNC-OB, the Labor & Delivery nurse-in-charge that night, added that while she too had never experienced such an exceptionally busy shift in her 15-plus years as a Brigham nurse, she was not surprised by the professionalism, dedication and skill demonstrated by all.
Like her colleague, Young emphasized that the extraordinary teamwork across many disciplines was pivotal to their success.
“It was a picture-perfect example of what we do when we’re at our best,” Young said. “It made me feel really proud and honored to work among such amazing colleagues.”
Mandy Brown Belfort, MD, MPH, of the Department of Pediatric Newborn Medicine and the attending neonatologist that night, remembered getting the call from Labor & Delivery that triplets were on the way moments after getting the critically ill newborn twins settled in the NICU.
“The whole team kicked into action,” Brown Belfort said. “Nobody got flustered. We are a very team-oriented specialty – this is what we do.”
Keith Hirst, MS, RRT-ACCS, RRT-NPS, AE-C, neonatal respiratory manager, agreed that the series of events highlighted remarkable collaboration among multiple disciplines, noting he was especially proud of the contributions made by respiratory therapists.
“It was an incredible night, and each of the respiratory therapists helped make it success,” Hirst said. “It was a team effort to make it as successful and as smooth as possible while continuing to deliver outstanding patient care.”