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Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Niswonger Children’s Hospital


The Niswonger Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is a top facility in Tennessee, treating about 500 babies a year. Our NICU is one of only five state-designated Perinatal Centers in Tennessee.

Physicians specializing in the care of newborns are joined by specialty-trained nurses, dieticians, respiratory therapists, social workers and pediatric subspecialists who work as a team to provide the best care possible for our babies and their families.

The NICU at Niswonger Children’s Hospital is a top facility in Tennessee, treating about 500 patients per year. The NICU is a 39-bed unit, including seven private rooms, with one equipped to care for a family with twins. As a part of the Northeast Tennessee Regional Perinatal Centers for high-risk pregnancies, the Perinatal Center provides diagnosis and treatment of life-threatening conditions of pregnant women and their babies.

The NICU at Niswonger Children’s Hospital is designated as a Level III. As a Level III designated facility, the Niswonger Children’s Hospital NICU has the capacity to manage most complex and severe maternal and neonatal illnesses.The NICU at Niswonger Children’s Hospital has the equipment, perinatal staff and pediatric specialists to manage and treat life-threatening conditions of pregnant women and their babies.

The NICU operates under the direction of neonatologists who are available anytime of the day or night. The NICU is staffed with specially trained nurses, and provides our littlest patients with immediate access to our pediatric specialists.

Special Care Unit: A new unit perfect for our youngest patients with special needs.

Babies with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) have special needs. In addition to requiring medication and extra attention, they are often very sensitive to noise and light that normally would not distress an infant. In a response to a region-wide epidemic of babies born addicted to drugs, the Mountain States Foundation raised funds for a special unit within Niswonger Children’s Hospital ideal for caring for babies who are born with neonatal abstinence syndrome. Learn more.


Perinatal Care Certification

Johnson City Medical Center and Niswonger Children’s Hospital have received Perinatal Care Certification from the Joint Commission – the premier health care quality improvement and accrediting body in the nation.

Why is this important?

Perinatal Care Certification means Johnson City Medical Center's Family Birth Center and Niswonger Children's Hospital's Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit provide the very best care for mothers and their babies – all under one roof. Our hospitals are the best choice in the region for higher-risk labor and delivery, and the only such facilities equipped to care for our littlest patients, who might need additional care in their first weeks or months of life.

Both hospitals underwent a rigorous onsite review to assess its compliance with certification standards for perinatal care. During the review, Joint Commission experts completed an independent evaluation of both patient care areas, as well as the following key requirements:

  • Integrated, coordinated patient-centered care that starts with prenatal and continues through postpartum care
  • Early identification of high-risk pregnancies and births
  • Management of mothers’ and newborns’ risks at a level corresponding to the program’s capabilities
  • Available patient education and information about perinatal care services

“Achieving Perinatal Care Certification recognizes an organization’s commitment to healthy mothers and healthy babies,” said Wendi Roberts, RN, BA, MS, CLNC, executive director, Certification Programs, The Joint Commission. “The certification gives providers an unparalleled advantage when it comes to preparing mothers for labor and delivery, while also being able to help them if complications arise.”

“We are delighted to receive Perinatal Care Certification from The Joint Commission, the premier health care quality improvement and accrediting body in the nation,” added Lisa Carter, Niswonger Children's Hospital CEO. “By achieving this certification, we are focused on ongoing quality-improvement processes to improve care for mothers and newborns.”

Established in 2015, Perinatal Care Certification is awarded for a two-year period to Joint Commission-accredited hospitals.