Research Article| Volume 66, e22-e26, September 2022

Neonatal intensive care unit nurse training in identifying ultrasound landmarks in the neonatal mediastinum. Α training program for nurses in North-Eastern Greece


      • Tutoring NICU nurses to recognise basic mesothoracic structures by ultrasound
      • Training improved the ability to accurately identify more lung structures
      • Collaboration of nurses and interdisciplinary teams can benefit high-risk infants



      To demonstrate methods and landmarks for mediastinum ultrasound as part of ultrasound examination of the lung for nurses. This will be the first step in their education to detect finally the tubes and lines malpositioning in order to distinguish emergency conditions of the lungs in neonates hospitalized in neonatal intensive care units.

      Design and methods

      Theoretical and practical interventions were developed to create a 3-month training program based on similar medical courses. The study was approved by the hospital's ethics committee.The program was performed in the neonatal intensive care unit of a single academic institution. Participating nurse was supervised by a paediatric surgeon and trained in lung ultrasound (a safe method without radiation) by a paediatric radiologist.


      During the practical period (2 months), the neonatal intensive care unit nurse examined 50 neonates (25 + 6–40 + 4 weeks gestational age; 21 males) separated into two subgroups of 25 neonates each for each training month. In the first month under supervision, the nurse was trained to recognise the aortic arch, the right pulmonary artery, the esophagus, the tracheal air, and the ‘sliding lung sign’ in the anterior, lateral, and posterolateral aspects of the thoracic cage. In the second month, the nurse recorded the ultrasound examinations. The identified structures were then assessed and graded by the supervising radiologist. The overall estimated success rate (5 landmarks × 25 neonates = 125) was 90.4%.


      Although this is the first report of the design of a ‘hands-on’, lung ultrasound training program for neonatal intensive care unit nurses, our findings demonstrate that it is a safe and useful program for all neonatal intensive care unit nurses because theoverall success rate of the 3-month program was determined by accurate identification of basic anatomical structures (90,4%) by the nurse.

      Practice implications

      This study describes the first educational training program for NICU nurses designed to recognise basic structures in the neonatal mediastinum. If the program is effective, NICU nurses will be able to identify respiratory emergencies. NICU nurses can inform doctors about emergencies according to tubes and lines malpositioning in a timely manner to avoid negative consequences.


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