The Rule of Tens: An Exercise in Examining Bedside Care of the Neonate

By Sue Ludwig

tow_10-18-16Historically, the concept of intensive care brings up visions of monitors, wires, tubes, ventilators, IVs and highly skilled professionals. And all of that is true. Yet somewhere amid all of that equipment lies a human baby. And next to all of that equipment stands the family of that baby. Helping them connect (physically, psychologically, emotionally) is of highest importance.

As neonatal professionals (and especially neonatal therapists) our job is to observe, assess and support that infant’s development in union with the intense medical and nursing care he receives. One way you can do this is to consider your role in every care interaction. Are you contributing to the infant’s overall homeostasis (autonomic, motor, state) or are you diminishing it?

When providing individualized care you must consider your role in the moment as well as how that moment contributes to the infant’s long-term neurodevelopment. Bonding and attachment are foundational components of neurodevelopment and must not be postponed until the infant is more ‘stable’.

You work in a highly specialized area with one of the most fragile patient populations in existence. It’s a privilege to do so. This simple exercise adds clarity, intention, and reflection to your everyday care interactions with infants and families in the NICU.

 Use the Rule of Tens as just one way to evaluate bedside practices, decisions and interactions.

 Click here to download the Rule of Tens – no cost, no hassle. 

 Intentional caregiving does not occur without…intention. Truly engaging in the Rule of Tens exercise will help you build a better practice and aid you in mentoring new staff. When you elevate your own practice, you cannot help but elevate those around you.

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