A leader in neonatal nursing, Mary Coughlin MS, NNP, RNC-E has pioneered the concept of trauma-informed care as a biologically relevant paradigm for hospitalized infants, families and professionals in the neonatal intensive care unit.
An internationally recognized expert in the field of neuroprotective care, Ms. Coughlin has over 35 years of nursing experience beginning in the US Air Force Nurse Corp and culminating in her current role as President and Chief Transformation Officer at Caring Essentials Collaborative.
A published author and inspirational speaker, Ms. Coughlin has mentored close to 10,000 interdisciplinary NICU clinicians from over 14 countries to transform the experience of care for the hospitalized infant and family in crisis.
Core Quality Measures for Trauma-informed Care in the NICU
Touching Lives, Impacting Lifetimes Infographic
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) defines quality of care as "the degree to which health care services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge." (IOM 1990)
Toxic, traumatic stress associated with neonatal intensive care contributes to socio-emotional impairment, reduced brain volumes, increased vulnerability to multiple chronic morbidities in adulthood as well as significant psychopathology. (Shonkoff 2016)
The quality of neuroprotective care in the NICU has demonstrated statistically significant improvements in short term and longterm outcomes (Montirosso et al 2017).
The American Academy of Pediatrics' principles for the development and use of quality measures recognizes that a major opportunity exists for us to make a real difference in the lives of infants and families by identifying and addressing opportunities to improve patient care grounded in our understanding of toxic stress and the human needs of the developing child (AAP 2008; AAP 2012; Johnson et al 2013).
Trauma-informed care in the NICU and beyond provides the framework to address these disease-independent yet biologically relevant needs of the developing infant (Shonkoff 2016; Coughlin 2016; Coughlin 2017; Sanders & Hall 2017).