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STABLE Program Delivers Huge Benefits to Ill Newborns

Routine checks of an ill newborn's vital signs can stop a downward health spiral in its tracks. That’s why nurses and others who have direct contact with these young patients are now being trained in the STABLE educational program.

Geared toward nurses, respiratory nurses, EMTs, paramedics, and residents, the daylong training program leaves participants with an easy-to-remember acronym they can use anytime they are caring for an ill newborn. STABLE stands for Sugar, Temperature, Airway, Blood pressure, Lab work, and Emotional support.

"We teach these care providers to be more aware and to look for these issues, which are all evidence-based recommendations," says Pamela Harris-Haman, BSN, RNC-NIC, CRNP, NNP-BC, the board-certified neonatal nurse practitioner in DCMH's Maternal/Child Health Unit. She conducts the ­­­­training several times a year to reach as many staff as possible.

Since starting the program more than a year ago, the training has reached 67 percent of the Maternal/Child Health Unit nurses, 75 percent of the respiratory therapists, and 100 percent of the medical interns and family health residents at DCHM. This year, the program will be expanded to Crozer.

"We also explain the physiological reasons for addressing a problem such as temperature, which can lead to problems with hypoglycemia and breathing difficulties. It's a circular effect," says Harris-Hamon. "Hopefully if we circumvent in one area, the baby won't have issues in another."