A holistic approach to nurse training in the NICU

Delivering a new care model through clinical education and operational transformation


The NICU at Mercy Kid’s Hospital increased their bed capacity to support the 3,000 infants delivered annually and added single-family rooms to address the growing demand.


However, the hospital knew that it takes more than a beautiful, calm space for babies to enhance development. There was a consensus among the NICU staff and administration that it was vital for the entire healthcare team “to be on the same page” for a successful transition to single-family rooms and future developmental caregiving.


Mercy believed the Philips Wee Care Program, an internationally-recognized quality and process improvement program designed to enhance the NICU environment and caregiving practices, could help them achieve their goals.


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Lakeland Regional Medical Center

Where: Mercy Kids Hospital-Springfield, MO.


What: Support increased neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) bed capacity and new single-family rooms with enhanced developmental care.


How: The Philips team provided an analysis of the current- state of the department and delivered the Wee Care Neuroprotective NICU Program - an 18-month clinical education and transformation program which helps hospitals develop family-centered neuroprotective care practices in the NICU.


Results: The co-creation of an innovative and calming NICU environment including design of smart workplaces, minimized alarm noise levels and implementation of seven core measures that are essential to supporting premature and sick infants and their families.

We took the opportunity to invite Philips in to talk to us about making behavioral changes, such as how we can impact neuroprotective care at the bedside with the families and how we can change the way that we interact with the babies to increase their development later on.”

Ashlea Cardin, Occupational Therapist

Mercy Kid’s Hospital-Springfield

Our approach


The Philips team provided an analysis of the current state of the NICU department and caregiving activities. They collaborated with the Mercy staff to identify and prioritize several short-term and long-term goals to help create a NICU environment that is private, family-centric and supports quality patient care.

Philips consultancy experts worked closely with the hospital’s key stakeholders.

Mercy Springfield Embraces Global Wee Care
Mercy Hospital works with Philips on Developmental Care initiatives in its NICU
neonathal infographic

Wee Care Neuroprotective NICU Program


Philips Wee Care Program is designed to support the NICU environment and caregiving practices. This unique program is based on seven core measures and has helped clients to enhance family-centered developmental care of premature and sick neonates.

Strategic Design


Our team provided an analysis of the NICU department (experiential, spatial, and activity workflow) by combining data analysis with stakeholders’ interviews.


Philips used an experience flow map to identify and graphically-depict the journeys that various stakeholders make within the cycle of care.


Working closely with client teams, we helped to design an innovative and calming NICU environment, design smart workplaces which are operationally-efficient, user-friendly, and adaptive for enhancing care practices and the patient, family, and staff experience.

Alarm and Noise Management


The Wee Care program also emphasizes the importance of minimizing noise in the NICU environment to decrease stress and improve sleep. The Philips team provided alarm and noise management consulting to help decrease the volume and frequency of non-meaningful alarms. Mercy Kid’s Hospital focused on noise levels as a key area of improvement.


“We needed to decrease our unit decibel (noise) levels and respond to alarms much quicker,” stated Cardin. “After the Wee Care Program, our decibel levels now run much closer to AAP guidelines. It’s not just because we have quieter monitors or just because we have a different environment, it’s because of the behavioral change that Wee Care has instilled in the NICU staff.”


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The project team agreed to change recommendations, prioritized the initiatives, and developed a high-level implementation plan.


“It is interesting that over the history of neonatal care, the goals have changed quite a bit,” said Cardin. “It’s much more than about maintaining their physical bodies, now it’s about looking at them as these amazing developmental creatures the day that they’re admitted.”


Of course, the end goal is to integrate the family into the supportive care of their infant with supportive care to prepare them for discharge and their life as a family-unit outside the NICU.

Mercury kids hospital

Meet our team

Leslie Altimier, consulting manager

Leslie Altimier, CDNP, RNC, NE-BC  

Senior Consulting Manager
Healthcare Transformation Services, Philips


Leslie provides clinical expertise and direction in the development and delivery of strategic consulting related to transformational education within Philips. She has vast experience in the neuroprotective care of premature infants and integrating families into care with expertise spanning neonatology, change management, quality improvement and organizational leadership.

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*Results from case studies are not predictive of results in other cases. Results in other cases may vary.