North Shore Private Hospital
Part of Ramsay Health Care

Special Care Nursery

There are many reasons why a baby requires admission to a Special Care Nursery. They may have been born prematurely (before 37 completed weeks) or are unwell. This means that extra nursing care is required and this extra care is provided in the Special Care Nursery at North Shore Private Hospital (NSPH).

The Staff of NSPH understand the admission of your baby to the Special Care Nursery environment may generate concern and many questions. As the care and comfort of you and your baby are our primary concerns, we are pleased to provide important information on our Special Care Nursery Services.

About Us

The Special Care Nursery at NSPH is a Level 2 nursery that is able to provide care for babies born from 32 weeks. The Special Care Nursery Staff are all highly qualified registered nurses and midwives who specialise in the care of babies requiring extended specialist care. Six paediatricians are on staff, one of whom is on-call twenty-four hours a day.

Caring of sick babies sometime involves a higher level of care beyond our SCN. If your baby requires a higher level of care we are able to efficiently transfer from our Special Care Nursery to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (Level 3) via the NETS team (Newborn Emergency Team). When your baby no longer requires level 3 care they will be transferred back to Special Care Nursery at NSPH.

The Paediatrician looking after your baby at birth looks after your baby until discharge. They will visit or be in contact with you and your baby every day.

Visiting For Parents

Parents have unrestricted visiting hours day and night.

  • 2 visitors per baby only.
  • On entry to Special Care Nursery please wash your hands.
  • Switch off your mobile phone
  • If you have a cough, cold, cold sore or diarrhoea please see Special Care Nursery Staff before visiting.
  • Siblings (any age) welcome with adult supervision
  • Siblings with coughs, colds, cold sores, diarrhoea or generally unwell should not visit.

Other visitors

No visiting between 12md and 3pm (except parents) This is the baby’s quiet time.

  • As visiting is restricted, priority is always given to the parents.
  • 2 visitors per baby only.
  • Switch off your mobile phone.
  • On entry to Special Care Nursery please wash your hands.
  • No other children under 12.

If your visitors have a cough, cold, cold sore or diarrhoea we ask that they do not visit.

There maybe times when procedures are being performed on a baby. You and your visitor will be asked to leave during this time.

Hand washing:

As Special Care Nursery babies are vulnerable to infection, it is important to reduce this risk. Hands carry bacteria (germs) on the skin. Bacteria are found on every surface you touch and can cause an infection in newborn babies, especially sick babies as their defence systems for fighting infection are not fully developed. All visitors including parents are asked to wash their hands on entry to the nursery.

We also request that your visitors limit touching/handling of your baby. Unwell babies need as much rest as possible. Over handling can use up precious energy.

The Special Care Nursery Environment

The Special Care Nursery will feel unfamiliar and some equipment will generate feelings of concern. In the event that you require the services provided by our Special Care Nursery, the staff will explain all equipment or procedures that may be involved in caring for your baby.


All newborn sick babies and preterm babies are monitored for many reasons.

Term: If a term baby is unwell we monitor all systems by observing heart rate, breathing rate and oxygen levels.

Preterm: The nervous system of a premature baby is immature - this includes their respiratory function. A monitor is used to keep a check on your baby’s heartbeat, breathing and oxygen levels. If a pre-term baby does not breathe or forgets to breathe, a monitor will alert the nursing staff to stimulate the baby to breathe. Usually a tickle on the foot or a gentle rub on their back is all that is required. This is expected in preterm babies.


Jaundice in newborn babies is a yellow colouration of the skin and whites of the eyes. Visible jaundice occurs in almost half newborn babies. The nurse looking after your baby may do a simple skin metre test to determine the level of jaundice and a blood test maybe required following this test. The treatment for jaundice is phototherapy.

Safe Sleeping

At NSPH we follow the Safe Sleeping Guidelines outlined by SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) 2008. All the babies, once in an open cot are placed on their backs to sleep. You will notice all the babies in incubators lie on their stomach or side as well as on their back. This is for medical reasons.

Interest: Look up SIDS and Kids website for safe sleeping practices.

Caring for your Baby

The Special Care Nursery Staff encourage you to participate in all aspects of your baby’s care. You will be shown how to:

  • take your baby’s temperature
  • change your baby’s nappy
  • clean your baby’s eyes and mouth
  • establish breast feeding or the feeding method of your choice.

Parental involvement is essential however, caring for yourself is also important. Like your baby, you need extra sleep, a healthy diet and plenty of fluids.

Touching your Baby

  • Hold your baby’s hand
  • Cup your hand on top of their head
  • Rest your hand on their body whilst gently talking to them. They will recognise you and your partner’s voice.
  • Siblings can also be involved.

We encourage Kangaroo cuddles. This is skin to skin contact between you and your baby.

Interest: Look up Kangaroo Cuddle on the net.

Feeding your Baby

At NSPH Special Care Nursery we recognise that Mother’s breast milk is the best for the sick or preterm baby. Our Special Care Nursery Staff promote and encourage breast feeding. However we also support your choice of feeding.


What happens on my day of discharge when my baby stays in Special Care Nursery?

The staff in Special Care Nursery will:

  • Give you containers and labels for your Expressed Breast Milk
  • Give you the phone number for Special Care Nursery
  • Talk to you about visiting your baby
  • Give you advice on parking
  • Tell you how to obtain a swipe card to access Special Care Nursery

Accept offers of help:

  • Meals cooked for you by friends or relatives
  • Siblings to be baby sat
  • Drive you in and out of the hospital

Check list before you bring your baby home

  • Capsule placed into car
  • Know what Early Childhood Centre you are going to attend
  • Think about day leave or rooming in as an option before discharge