Resident Roles and Responsibilities

Clinical Rotations for Students

The Work Day

Early morning priority should be given to potentially sick newborns and newborns that are likely to be discharged that day.  Often, the mothers who are to be discharged will be identified on the unit monitor with a "+" in front of the room number, but in general, babies born by vaginal delivery will have a 2 night stay and babies born by C-section will have 4 night stay. The team should strive to examine the babies and complete teaching for the families who are going home that day, and if possible, have discharge orders completed (but not initiated) before rounds.

During rounds the team will review pertinent parts of the prenatal and delivery history, social and family history, physical findings, and discharge plans.  Frequently, the entire team will do "walk rounds" on patients who are going home or who have physical findings that present educational opportunities. If the census is high, the attending physician may independently round on some patients.

Residents should use the standard electronic "WBN note" for admits, discharges, and progress notes. Medical students may choose to use either electronic or paper charting, but should also have the senior resident start an electronic "WBN note" for their patients.

After attending rounds, the team will continue visits with patients and families, attend to any infants with issues, examine new babies, and perform circumcisions.  Before noon the team should "tie up loose ends", call consultanting services, etc.  At 1 pm, the team will gather again to round on new patients, finish remaining procedures, review any problems encountered, and for educational discussion.

Residents should make all efforts to attend Morning Report and Noon Conference.

Patient care

Main patient care responsibilities for the team include the following:

  • reviewing prenatal records to identify risks for the newborn (e.g. PROM, GBS status, HBsAg, Serology tests, substance abuse history, PPD, etc.)
  • obtaining prenatal, birth, family, and social history from the parents and OB records
  • following the daily progress of the baby (use "24 hour" and "flowsheets" tabs for RN information)
  • performing admission and discharge physical exams (occasionally the length of stay is so short that these are the same exam)
  • planning and arranging diagnostic tests and therapy
  • arranging consultations or transfers
  • reviewing appropriate newborn care issues with parents before discharge
  • assuring that the family has a clinic designed for follow-up
  • forwarding clinical information to the appropriate clinic or physician
  • performing minor procedures, such as circumcision or frenotomy
  • maintaining the medical record to document the following:

    • prenatal history
    • birth history
    • physical exam
    • DAILY progress note
    • discharge plans including diet and follow-up (WIC forms if needed)
    • clear documentation of issues needing follow-up after discharge
    • clear documentation of follow-up appointment
    • orders and notes with dates, times and signature


Orders and notes written by students must be co-signed by the senior resident or attending physician.

Team members should inform parents of any significant change in the status of the baby, clinical or otherwise.  Examples include sepsis screening labs or CXR, initiation of phototherapy, or transfer to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or packard intermediate care nursery (PICN).  The purpose and procedure for any diagnostic evaluation should be explained directly to the infant's parents.

A transfer of a sick infant to the NICU or PICN should be managed by the senior resident or attending with clear communication to the NICU fellow or attending.

Other Notes

In couplet care, babies are rarely physically found in the Newborn Nursery. Babies may be examined in the nursery, but this in no way replaces a visit to the mother to both give and receive information about the infant.

Infants typically remain in mother's rooms for all assessments, and charts for both mother and baby will be located at the nursing stations closest to the room.  If privacy is needed for discussion with the family, consultation rooms are available on each floor.

Many of our patients speak only Spanish (or another non-English language). For that reason LPCH and SUH provide professional interpreters.

It is recommended that if neither resident speaks the family's language fluently, the interpreter's service should be used. Not obtaining history or giving inadequate information because of language barriers is not acceptable.

JAbyMD, ABurgosMD, 5/06
Updated 8/11

JAbyMD, ABurgosMD, 5/06

updated 8/11