A Program for Ensuring Safe Infant Transport – S.T.A.B.L.E.

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

This blog is the third of three taken from a recent Webinar featuring Lindsay McAlister, BSN, RN; Alexander Walker, PhD, Senior Director, Learning and Research Design, MedStar; Dr. Tamika Auguste, Associate Medical Director and Director OBGYN Simulation, MedStar Health; and Kris Karlsen, PhD, APRN, NNP-BC, FAAN, Program Author and Founder, S.T.A.B.L.E.

Common Ground – Why S.T.A.B.L.E.?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in 2013 alone 23,446 babies died before their first birthday, and nearly 70% of those deaths occurred in the first month of life. Kris Karlsen, PhD, the Program Author and Founder of S.T.A.B.L.E. offers that, “it's vitally important that all perinatal staff are educationally prepared to take care of the unexpectedly sick and/or preterm infant.” Dr. Karlsen also shared that 10% of babies are born pre-term and those weighing less than 1,000 grams account for half of the annual infant mortality rate in the US. Based on these startling statistics, ongoing education to reduce infant morbidity and mortality is clearly needed. She also addresses the important issue of public trust. Patients trust that hospitals will deliver safe and effective care, even when presented with a suddenly-sick or pre-term infant, but they may not understand that educational preparation and requirements can actually vary quite widely by state and providers are not equally prepared to deal with sick or pre-term infants.

Ensuring Safe Infant Transport

Dr. Karlsen also points to the high number of infant transports – approximately 68,000 babies are transferred to higher levels of care each year. “This number of transports underscores the need for staff readiness to recognize the unwell baby and to stabilize and transfer or transport out those babies.” says Dr. Karlsen.

As an acronym guiding the safe transport of infants, S.T.A.B.L.E. stands for:

  • Sugar and Safe Care
  • Temperature
  • Airway
  • Blood Pressure
  • Lab Work
  • Emotional Support

How Does S.T.A.B.L.E Fit in With Your Education Plan?

S.T.A.B.L.E is not just for staff who are taking care of sick babies. The course curriculum actually applies to the everyday care of both well and sick babies. The content for all modules focuses on anticipating problems, recognizing them when they do occur, and then determining the right course of action. The content helps providers learn the best practices that will keep well babies well and avoid a NICU admission and also helps providers organize stabilization care. 

Who Can Benefit from S.T.A.B.L.E.?

  1. Nurses - S.T.A.B.L.E. is designed to help nurses in a variety of settings from Labor and Delivery and NICU to the Emergency Department where it is not uncommon to find nurses that are somewhat fearful when caring for babies. S.T.A.B.L.E. gives them the tools to help them feel more confident when taking care of these patients.
  2. Pre-hospital providers – The course is a requirement for OB and neonatal transport teams, but it is also helpful for paramedics and emergency medical technicians who are often on the front lines of care of sick babies.
  3. Nursing and medical students – Students will be more prepared for their maternity rotations and their first encounters with obstetric and neonatal patients.
  4. Respiratory therapists, nursing assistants and techs – These providers can also benefit from this education as they are often in a position to recognize a baby who is becoming unwell.
  5. Physicians – Physicians can use S.T.A.B.L.E. education as the foundation for an organized approach to the post-resuscitation stabilization of preterm or unexpectedly sick infants. Team work can be enhanced when both physicians and nurses have taken S.T.A.B.L.E.

S.T.A.B.L.E – The Program and Educational Methodology

The program can be delivered in one of two ways. A traditional, classroom model is available as well as an e-learning course that is delivered online and at the student’s convenience. The traditional, classroom model delivers the content over a 1-2-day period and is taught by experts in neonatal nursing, medicine, and respiratory therapy. It includes the course slides and a learner manual and should be renewed every two years.

HealthStream and S.T.A.B.L.E. have recently partnered to deliver the dynamic S.T.A.B.L.E. program in an online format for the first time ever. The self-paced, online S.T.A.B.L.E. program takes 5.5 to 6 hours to complete and offers e-learners the ability to build their confidence through interactive activities, audio and video presentations, and PDF resources from the S.T.A.B.L.E. manual that can be downloaded or printed.

Everyday hundreds of newly born infants become ill and require specialized care, yet many caregivers lack the knowledge, skills, and confidence in their ability to provide the necessary care. With the goal to improve the quality of care of sick infants and increase the confidence of those who care for them, HealthStream and S.T.A.B.L.E. have partnered to offer the dynamic S.T.A.B.L.E. program in an online format for the first time ever.

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