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Research and Training News

NBAS Training site in Tromso 

The University of Tromso is now an NBAS training site.  Jorunn Tunby, Nina Cheetham and Inger Pauline Landsem are the new designated NBAS trainers for Norway (and all three are NBO-certified). Nina Cheetham completed her Master’s degree, investigating the use of NBO with first time mothers in May 2011. The other two NBAS-trainers Inger Pauline Landsem and Jorunn Tunby have certified one NBAS-examiner each, and have five in-training, three of whom are from Fredrikstad.

The NBO-course in Tromsø, led by Kevin Nugent and Yvette Blanchard in 2010 had twenty participants from all over Norway. This initiated a request on more NBO-courses. This past summer two more courses for Infant Mental Health professionals were led by Kevin Nugent and Kristie Brandt in Oslo.

NBO Training Site in Oslo

The National Network for Infant Mental Health and the Centre for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Eastern and Southern Norway (R.BUP Oslo) will be the center for NBO training in Norway.  The new NBO trainers are Kari Slinning and Nancy Moss. Earlier this year, R.BUP Oslo sponsored Newborn Behavioral Observations (NBO) system training in Oslo from June 11 to June 15th. Over 50 participants from all over Norway (and Sweden and Denmark) – Psychologists, Nurses, Physiotherapists, Pediatricians, Educators, Social Workers and Psychiatrists – completed NBO training in Oslo on June 11-12 and on June 14-15th. The program was organized by Dr. Kari Slinning (R.BUP), assisted by Unni Rosenkilde, Program Coordinator. Dr. Slinning is a Child Psychologist and Researcher at the Center for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Eastern and Southern Norway (R.BUP Oslo) and has been studying the effects and treatment of postpartum depression in her research. In her role in the National Network for Infant Mental Health, Dr. Slinning’s plan is to introduce the NBO to hospital and clinic settings across Norway. This NBO training is the first step. The NBO faculty included Brazelton Institute faculty, Drs. Krisite Brandt and Kevin Nugent. The training included lectures and discussion on themes such as “The NBO and Infant Mental Health”, “Relationship-building through the NBO”, “Reading the subtle communication cues of newborns” and “Learning to administer the NBO step-by-step”.

20-day-old Helge and his mother and Kari Slinning and Kevin Nugent

Both sessions included a live demonstration of the NBO. In this case, it was 20 day-old Helge and his mother who kindly offered to come to the training session so that participants could experience a live demonstration of the NBO with a newborn infant and his or her parents. During both NBO sessions, Helge demonstrated just how competent Norwegian newborns are – he was robust, well-organized and socially responsive in every area so that he provided a unique opportunity to see how the NBO can draw out the baby’s individuality and uniqueness at this young age. Helge was the prefect teacher!

Participants comments –

  • “Inspiring!”
  • “Great Presentations”
  • “Fantastic – everything was fantastic!”
  • “Two wonderful days”
  • “I saw the power of the child’s influence on the parents”
  • “I learned to respect parents and babies”
  • “Learning the NBO will make me more sensitive to newborns”
  • “I learned how to show parents what their baby can do”
  • “I liked the emphasis on the child’s strengths”
  • “I learned that I am the parent’s partner not their teacher”
  • “The NBO helps parents see their baby as an individual – to read the baby and to see the baby with “new eyes””.

Left: Drammen Hospital nurses learning the NBO  Center: Swedish participants learning to administer the NBO  Right: Experienced in the NBAS, Kerstein and Nancy learn the NBO

A Model Program

Under the guidance and leadership of Dr. Atle Moen, the individualized family-centered care in the NICU at the Women and Children’s Clinic, Drammen Hospital is a model of best practice. We had the opportunity to visit the hospital and spoke with many parents and staff. Psychologist Nancy Moss, who had been trained in the NBAS by Dr. Nugent in 1980, has played a key role in introducing the principles of relationship-based care to the hospital over the years. Nurses from the hospital participated in the NBO training and plan to introduce the NBO into their discharge planning and follow-up. We were deeply impressed by satisfaction expressed by parents in terms of how they are included in decision-making and the degree to which the NICU was indeed a home for both infants and their families.

The 25th Norwegian Perinatal Symposia, Oslo, November 7-9, 2012

Topics include Preterm birth, Epigenetics, International Health, Early Intervention. Dr. Kevin Nugent will speak on the use of the NBO in early intervention settings.

The Premature Project in Tromsø

By Jorunn Tunby, NNS, Research nurse/ project coordinator

The Premature project started in March 1999 with the aim to investigate whether an early intervention program, sensitizing parents to infants’ cues would reduce the incidence of behavioral and emotional problems and enhance cognitive development in a group of low birth weight infants <2000grams. 140 premature infants were randomly distributed to an intervention and a control group. In addition 70 full term infants were selected to another control group.

The intervention was a slightly modified version of The Vermont Intervention Program, based on the work of T.Berry Brazelton, the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale. The parents in the intervention group received counseling from a specially trained neonatal nurse one hour per day during the last week before discharge. Additionally, the nurses performed four home visits, lasting one hour, during the first three months after discharge. The children and their parents have been followed up when the child was 6 months, one, two three, five, 7 and 9 years old with psychological and medical assessments. This has resulted in three doctoral theses. Shortly, this work have documented that the intervention reduced stress experienced by parents across the first five years of life, and increased the cognitive outcome and reduced behavioral problems reported by parents at five years. Two new candidates (one nurse and one psychologist) intend to take their PhD on the data after five years.

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