Highly attuned NIDCAP care for infants and their families,
as well as for the healthcare professionals who care for them,
is to be commended and serves as an inspiration for all

This degree of NIDCAP care is recognized by the NFI’s designation of NIDCAP Nursery Certification

  • Nurseries must be part of a hospital system as follows:
    • In the USA: licensed and accredited by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations
    • Outside of the USA: meets the respective country’s accreditation standards
  • Provide care to one or more of the following:
    • Preterm and/or medically at risk infants under 1500 grams and/or under 30 weeks gestation from birth on (NICU, Level III Nursery)
    • Preterm and/or medically at risk infants in convalescent mode (Level II Nursery; step-down nursery)
    • Fullterm or near fullterm infants who require intensive or specialized medical care to ensure their survival
    • Newborns cared for in hospitals
  • Employ at least one fulltime equivalent (FTE) NIDCAP Professional in good standing (certified or recertified since 1996)

Hospitals with multiple nursery settings may apply for certification for only one or for more than one of their nursery settings. Hospitals are encouraged to apply ultimately for certification for all the nurseries settings in their purview.

The Six Steps to Certification

Application, Review and Certification

1. Determine Eligibility

2. Complete and Submit Preliminary Application

3. Complete and Submit Full Application

4. Application review conducted by NIDCAP Nursery Site Review Team

The site team represents neonatology, nursing and a developmental discipline

5. Site Visit (2-3 days) by NIDCAP Nursery Site Review Team

The Site Review Team:

  • Observes: the overall nursery system; specific aspects of the nursery’s infant and family care implementation; staff support and functioning; environment
  • Meets: hospital and nursery’s administrative leadership; representatives from various disciplines; parents and family members of infants, who are currently cared for in the nursery
  • Evaluates and integrates: nursery’s self-assessment materials; information gathered during the site visit
  • Determines nursery’s eligibility for certification.

NIDCAP Nursery Site Review Visit Preparation

Site Review Team

6. Receive Summary Report and Recommendations and the NFI Board’s decision

Certification is achieved with a Nursery Assessment Manual summary score > 3.6
(Overall Nursery mean score and subcategory Infant, Family and Staff)

All guides, applications and instructions needed for the NIDCAP Nursery Certification process may be found here:

NIDCAP Nursery Materials

For further information, mentorship, referrals and associated fees please contact:

Rodd Hedlund, MEd
Director, NIDCAP Nursery Program