Top 3 Questions and Answers: Online IDF Education

By Sue Ludwig and Kara Ann Waitzman

We have rich discussions every week with neonatal caregivers and leaders like you regarding the complex journey of getting an entire unit (or hospital system) on the same page about oral feeding practice. Their primary questions focus on how and why to implement the online IDF course as the foundational educational process for this journey.

To save you some time and confusion we decided to feature the answers to the top 3 questions we receive about the vital transition toward age appropriate feeding practice.

Question 1:
Q: Do neonatologists and NNPs typically take your online course? And if not, what’s the best way to ensure they’re on board with this practice change?

A1: Some providers choose to take the online course (distributed by HealthStream). Those providers are typically passionate about neurodevelopment and feeding and are naturally attracted to learning more. Other providers simply want to know the details, for example – why they should consider changing the current feeding practice, what those changes will look like in reality, how it affects their role in feeding practice, and what outcomes can be expected.

A2: The best way to ensure the latter group of providers is on board is to provide them with a link to our Provider Course. It’s free, only 40 minutes in length, and addresses their primary questions. We’ve spoken to providers for over a decade about this transition. We are confident that this succinct course will provide them with the information they need to contribute to the team decision regarding IDF education and practice.

Question 2:
Q: We want to provide IDF education for our entire NICU and maybe even all the NICUs in our system. Where do we even begin?

A: We completely understand that this is an overwhelming task that typically begins as a grassroots effort among passionate staff members (that’s exactly how we began!). The best and most efficient way to gather all the background info you need, including next steps, is to schedule a 30 min Strategy Call with one of us. It’s really that simple. You explain the needs of your particular NICU and we’ll walk you through the best next steps. We’ll also send you follow up information immediately after the call. (You can quickly schedule this meeting by accessing our calendars under the IDF Resources section below.)

Question 3:
Q: Hospital administration asked us if your online course is a well-established resource. How many neonatal caregivers have taken the online IDF course so far?

A: We keep checking in with HealthStream about this one! The course titled, Infant-Driven Feeding: Advancing Oral Feeding Practice in the NICU, which hospitals can purchase and assign to NICU staff via hospital intranet, first became available via HealthStream in January of 2014. As of November 2015, over 3,200 professionals have enrolled in this course nationwide.

During a Strategy Call with a NICU staff member last week, she stated, “I was literally about to embark on creating a huge series of educational presentations about feeding practice for our unit. I could tell it was going to take me countless hours of research and creation time, and even then I wasn’t sure how we’d roll it out system-wide or if I’d be able to really address the process of changing the practice, beyond just the educational info. Then I found out about the online course and realized that you guys already did all the work for us. This is exactly what we need.”

And here’s the thing: that’s exactly why we created it. We’re practical problem-solvers at heart with a vision to improve the feeding experience for infants and families. We’re here to support you as you implement that vision in your own NICU.