Neonatology and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

One of only five state-designated Perinatal Centers in Tennessee

Niswonger Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) treats about 650 babies every year.

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 39-bed unit, including 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 NICU at Niswonger Children’s Hospital is located with the Johnson City Medical Family Birth Center, which is equipped to care for mothers and babies who are considered high risk.


The Niswonger Children’s Hospital NICU has the equipment, perinatal staff and pediatric specialists needed to care for critically ill newborn babies.

The NICU is designated as a Level III facility. This means the NICU has the capacity to manage most complex and severe neonatal illnesses.

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

Special Care Unit

The Special Care Unit at Niswonger Children’s Hospital is a new unit for our youngest patients with special needs, including babies with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).

Learn more about the Special Care Unit.

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 the Niswonger Children’s Hospital Level III NICU provide the very best care for mothers and their babies – all under one roof.

High-risk labor and delivery

Our hospitals are the best choice in the region for higher-risk labor and delivery and are the only facilities in the region equipped to care for our littlest patients, who might need additional care in their first weeks or months of life.

Meeting the highest standards

Both Johnson City Medical Center and Niswonger Children’s Hospital underwent a rigorous onsite review to assess their 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,” 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.