A subspecialty of pediatrics, neonatology is the special care of critically ill or premature newborn babies..
A subspecialty of pediatrics, neonatology is the special care of critically ill or premature newborn babies. Prematurity, low birth weight, intrauterine growth restriction, congenital malformations (birth defects), sepsis, pulmonary hypoplasia, or birth asphyxia, all come under the ambits of a neonatologist. They tend to practice generally in the neonatal intensive care units (NICU) and focus on the care of critically ill newborns. However, they may provide evaluation and care as general pediatricians or may continue to evaluate infants years after discharge to properly assess long-reaching effects. Their responsibilities include diagnose and treatment of newborns with conditions such as breathing disorders, infections, and birth defects, coordinate care and medically manage newborns born premature, critically ill, or in need of surgery, ensure that critically ill newborns receive the proper nutrition, provide care to the newborn at a cesarean or other problematic delivery cases. This is also a field that continues to evolve and advance, thereby offering crucial research opportunities. Research is currently underway in areas like improving the application of big data in NICU through predictive monitoring, developing vaccines, reducing Infant Mortality in Low-Resource Countries, combining pulse oximetry with other noninvasive modalities into single devices to provide comprehensive information on organ health through multimodal monitoring and so on. Technologies such as the artificial womb, artificial surfactant, The Heart Rate Observation System have also been witnessing improvements.
Treating newborns is complex and requires extreme care and patience; the Doctor of Medicine in neonatology hence aims to produce super-specialists of the highest order who can provide care and treatment of the highest order to newborn infants and act as future teachers and scientists in the field. The candidates would train in areas such as Fetal and Neonatal Immunology, Fetal and Neonatal Endocrine Physiology, Applied Anatomy and Embryology, Research Methodology, Neonatal Adaptation, Biostatistics, Fetal & Intrauterine Growth, Perinatal & Neonatal Mortality, Morbidity & Epidemiology, Intrapartum Monitoring, Neonatal Resuscitation, Diagnosis and Management of Fetal Diseases, Neonatal Ventilation, Medical Diseases, Blood Gas and Acid-Base Disorders, Physiological and Ethical Considerations, Neonatal Assessment, Neonatal reflexes & Neonatal behavior, Neonatal Ophthalmology, Immunization Neonatal Dermatology, Development and Assessment of Neuromotor Delay, Transport of Neonates, Neonatal Imaging, Organization of Neonatal Care, and much more. Students who complete the course are expected to be able to analyze neonatal health problems scientifically, taking into account the biological basis as well as the socio-behavioral epidemiology of the perinatal neonatal disease, and advise and implement strategies aimed at the prevention of neonatal morbidity and mortality, provide primary, secondary and tertiary care to all newborn infants, Implement a comprehensive program for the critically ill newborn infants, and advise rehabilitation, take rational decisions in the face of ethical dilemmas, exhibit excellent communication skills and demonstrate compassionate attributes, teach newborn care to the medical and the nursing students as well as grassroots health functionaries, work as a productive member of the interdisciplinary team and so on.
The duration of the course is three years. Admission and eligibility criteria vary among institutions. Usually, candidates who have passed M.D. Pediatrics approved by Medical Council of India (MCI) , candidates who have passed Diplomate of National Board (DNB) in Pediatrics and doctors who have cleared NEET-SS, AIIMS SS, JIPMER, OR PGIMER exam are usually allowed to take admission. Career opportunities range from research to super-specialist consultant. Neonatology is one of the most prestigious courses that a medical student can opt for.