Department of Neonatology
About the Department
The history of the Department of Neonatology is closely associated with the establishment and development of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Department of Pediatric Medicine. In 1992, by the decree of the Rector of Kaunas Medical Academy (currently – Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, LUHS), the Department of Neonatology was established and started operating as an independent unit. Since then the Department has achieved the unity of clinical practice, studies, and research. Physician Antanas Pužas was the first Head of the Department; he was succeeded by Assoc. Prof. Dalia Daugėlienė (since 2001) and by Assoc. Prof. Eglė Markūnienė (since 2004). Since 2011, the Department is headed by Dr. Rasa Tamelienė.
In 1992, the Perinatology Program was introduced in Lithuania, and Kaunas Center of Perinatology was established. The Department of Neonatology was reorganized. After a series of reorganizations, since 2005 the Department has consisted of the Neonatal Resuscitation and Intensive Care Unit, the Department of Neonatology, and the Neonatal Development Monitoring room. The Department of Neonatology receives difficult newborns from Kaunas, Klaipėda, and Šiauliai regions – i.e. newborns who are premature, severely or morbidly underweight, born to Rh-sensitized or diabetic mothers, or have congenital or acquired infection; our Department provides surgical and neurosurgical treatment of neonatal disorders, and cardiosurgery for patent ductus arteriosus. Within one year, the Department treats ca. 3,500 neonates; of these, ca. 500 are treated in the Neonatal Resuscitation and Intensive Care Unit. Healthy newborns also receive significant attention. The Department promotes family-oriented care, and in 2005 the Department of Neonatology received the title of a Baby-Friendly Hospital.
Studies and research
Each year, ca. 400 LUHS students – including ca. 40 foreign students - undergo training at the Department of Neonatology: fifth-year students of the Faculty of Medicine train here during the studies of the Obstetrics-Gynecology module, sixth-year students – in elective cycles “A Preterm Neonate and his/her Adaptation” and “A healthy Neonate and Breastfeeding”; third- and fourth-year students of the Faculty of Nursing train at the Department during the studies of the Obstetrics module, and fourth-year students – during the elective cycle “Promotion of Natural Nursing, and Management of Lactation”. Students also undergo practical summer training at the Department, and conduct research for conferences organized by the Students’ Scientific Society. The teaching staff of the Department consists of 11 pedagogues, including 5 doctors of science, three of which are lecturers, and two – associate professors. One member of the personnel has Master’s degree in psychology, 2 – in education science, and 1 – in management and administration. The teaching personnel of the Department deliver lectures and organize seminars, tutorials, and practical classes. The pedagogues are continuously improving their qualification at clinical and educational scientific conferences in Portugal, Argentina, Australia, Great Britain, South Africa, and Germany, and also during traineeship in Swedish Lund and Karolinska University Hospitals, the US Chicago Illinois University Hospital, and Gregorio Maranon University Hospital in Madrid, Spain. The employees of the Department also share their experience with Lithuanian and foreign physicians and nurses by organizing scientific-practical conferences, seminars, refresher courses, and traineeship. The majority of the personnel of the Department are members of the Lithuanian Neonatology Association and the Lithuanian Society of Pediatricians.
Since 1994, the Department of Neonatology has been participating in training resident physicians in the following programs: Pediatric Medicine and Neonatology, Family Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Pediatric Medicine and Intensive Therapy. The Department is also conducting clinical research in the fields of neonatal infections, asphyxia, feeding, monitoring of long-term outcomes, and nursing. The Department has doctoral students as well; eight doctoral dissertations have already been successfully defended. The Department participates in five programs of doctoral studies: “Anesthesia and Intensive Therapy During Pregnancy and Childbirth”, “Peculiarities of Neonatal Adaptation and Development”, “Reproductive Health: Biological, Medical, and Bioethical Aspects”, “Perinatal Infection”, and “Application of Molecular Techniques in Scientific Research”.
In 2011, the Department of Neonatology published the first course-book “Neonatology” in Lithuania. Researchers of the Department publish the results of their studies in Lithuanian and international scientific journals.
In 2009, the Neonatology Circle was established. In addition to research activity, its members participate in the Neonatal Assistance Program and in social initiatives, thus improving the well-being of our little patients.