Special Topic Course – Debunking NICU Myths with Evidence and Finesse

By Sue Ludwig

If you find yourself in a healthcare culture in which long-held beliefs sometimes overshadow new evidence, you will be empowered by the course outlined below. You will not only learn the evidence that supports some of the most common myths you may encounter, but you will learn how to have crucial conversations to communicate that knowledge.

Course Title: Debunking NICU Myths with Evidence and Finesse

Course Description: Healthcare should be driven by evidenced-based medicine, quality improvement, safety initiatives, and best practice. However, “That’s the way we’ve always done it” is a mantra heard around the world and is used as a crutch to perpetuate false, antiquated, or unsafe caregiving practices. Whether initiated by grandparents, parents, or healthcare providers, myths surrounding baby care are abundant and prevail in NICUs. This presentation will identify typical NICU Myths related to areas such as feeding, positioning, and development. For example, “Breastfeeding is harder than bottle-feeding”, “Elevated positioning is recommended to prevent GER”, “Head shape is just aesthetic”, or “It’s not a problem if I use sucrose when he isn’t in pain” are all myths that not only limit optimal outcomes for infants and families, but inhibit progress in further neuroprotective care strategies.

The most common NICU Myths were gathered via survey from NANT members and supplement more than 20 myths that will be debunked with current research and literature for course attendees. But evidence is only part of the solution. What about the crucial conversations with the medical staff, NICU managers, nurses, or other therapists where there are opposing opinions, strong emotions and high stakes? The concept of motivational interviewing and crucial conversations will also be introduced, outlined, and demonstrated to help passionate neonatal professionals persevere in their effort to provide high quality, safe, and evidence-based caregiving practices in their NICU. Armed with the knowledge, research, and verbiage to take on NICU myths, Neonatal professionals will leave this presentation better prepared to serve the infants and families in their care while achieving a high level of respect and admiration from the healthcare team for their finesse in debunking NICU myths.

Shannon Usher, MSOT, OTR/L, NTMTC
Kara Ann Waitzman, BS, OTR/L, CNT, NTMTC

CE Credit: 1 CE Hour (OT, PT, SLP, RN)

Level: Intermediate


  1. Recognize three traditional NICU myths that are not based on current evidence.
  2. Identify three evidence-based caregiving activities that can be incorporated into NICU practice after debunking the associated myth.
  3. Name the 4 components in the Path to Action for Crucial Conversations.

Instructional Method: Recorded webinar with lecture, videos and handouts. Learning assessment and course evaluation follow course.

Course Fee: $57 – Members receive 10% discount.

Click here to learn more or enroll.

Teams collectively lead NICU practice. Engaging in education and experiences that help everyone get on the same page results in better evidence-based practice, momentum, and outcomes for our patients and their families.

“This presentation gave some concrete ideas on how to handle some of the more challenging opinions and viewpoints found in my current practice. I appreciate having the references to come back with evidenced based resources to share!” – Jenni Goldbaum, OTR/L

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