Successful NIDCAP Nursery Certification represents distinction in the provision of a consistently high level of NIDCAP care for infants and their families, as well as for the staff, and as such is to be commended and celebrated as an inspiration for all.

Deborah Buehler, PhD, Karen Smith, RNC, BSN, MEd, and Heidelise Als, PhD

NIDCAP Nursery Assessment and Certification Program

Overview and Video

The NIDCAP Nursery Assessment and Certification Program (NNACP) under the auspices of the NIDCAP Federation International (NFI) recognizes the excellence of a hospital nursery’s commitment to and integration of the principles of the Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program (NIDCAP) for infants, families, and staff. Hospitals and their nursery systems receive NIDCAP Nursery Certification when they demonstrate that they consistently promote best short and long term development of all infants and families in their care, and support their professionals and staff in accordance with the principle of assuring best personal and professional development towards relationship-based care implementation.

NFI certified NIDCAP Nurseries provide a dynamic environment for the full integration of expert medical and nursing care securely embedded within the active pursuit of mutual respect, caring, nurturance of and collaboration with infants and families, and among all professionals and staff members.

The NNACP utilizes the Nursery Assessment Manual as the key instrument to evaluate the quality of a nursery’s developmental orientation and care implementation. The manual consists of 121 individual scales that are organized into the following four categories that characterize a nursery:

  1. Physical Environment of the Hospital and Nursery;
  2. Philosophy and Implementation of Care: Infant;
  3. Philosophy and Implementation of Care: Family; and
  4. Philosophy and Implementation of Care: Professionals and Staff.

The scales are utilized and scored first by the applicant nursery, in an extensive self-assessment process, and then by an NFI-designated NNACP Site Review Team of three NIDCAP Professionals with complementary interdisciplinary backgrounds such as neonatology, nursing and one of the developmental disciplines, during a multi-day site visit. The Team identifies and confirms a nursery system’s strengths and, as indicated, provides guidance towards growth and further development in order that the nursery may achieve the ultimate goal of certification. During the site visit, the Site Review Team observes the overall, as well as, the specific aspects of the nursery environment, and meets with the hospital and nursery’s administrative leadership, with representatives from across and within disciplines, and with parents and other family members, whose infants are currently cared for in the nursery. The Team then assesses and integrates the nursery’s self-assessment materials and the information gathered during the site visit to determine the nursery’s eligibility for certification.

NIDCAP Nursery Certification is both a goal and a process. Nurseries that apply for this certification will, through the process of the application, and by their self-evaluation, define the areas of their current strengths and areas for future growth. Successful NIDCAP Nursery Certification represents distinction in the provision of a consistently high level of NIDCAP care for infants and their families, as well as for the staff, and as such, is to be commended and celebrated as an inspiration for all.

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