The objectives of the training program vary by year, commensurate with the experience the fellow has gained. Early in the fellowship, the fellow is provided a faculty advisor. In the first year, a heavy emphasis is placed on increasing the breath and depth of the fellow's knowledge-base and clinical skills, by completing 18 weeks of inpatient clinical service. During this time, the fellow will become well-versed in the common problems of neonatology and capable of developing a comprehensive differential diagnosis for most babies who present to the NICU. Additionally, the fellow will begin developing the skills of bedside teaching during rounds and team management, by rotating with different faculty during their time in the special care nurseries.
During the first year, with the guidance of the faculty, the fellow will also choose a research laboratory and mentor and begin a research project. At the end of the first year, the fellow may preference either an academic-research focused training pathway or a clinical care-teaching focused training pathway. The second and third years of training will vary, depending on the pathway chosen.
In the second year, the emphasis of training in the NICU is placed on improving the teaching skills of the fellow, while continuing to develop the fellow's knowledge-base. If a research pathway is chosen, clinical rotations in the second year will be limited to 9 to 12 weeks. For the clinical pathway, 18 - 24 weeks will be completed. During these clinical rotations, the fellow will have increased autonomy on rounds and increased responsibility for resident education. The 2nd year fellow will also have increased responsibility for management of patients on ECMO and other critically-ill patients in the nursery.
In the third year, the emphasis is placed on increasing the leadership and management skills of the fellow, while continuing to develop their knowledge base and teaching skills. For the research pathway, clinical rotation will again be limited to 9 - 12 weeks. For the clinical pathway, the fellow will complete 18 - 24 weeks and may elect to complete special electives in Developmental Pediatrics, Perinatology or other subspecialty areas. During the clinical rotations, the third year fellow will take the primary responsibility for leading one of the teams on service, leading bedside rounds and discussions, frequently communicating with families and referring physicians, and coordinating consulting services.
Integral to the fellowship training program is the on-call responsibility of the fellow. While on call, the fellow supervises pediatric residents in the NICU at Riley Hospital, as well as attends high risk deliveries and assists residents with patient care at Indiana University Hospital and Wishard Memorial Hospital. Fellows take call an average of every sixth night throughout the three years of training. An attending physician is on call with the fellow, and is always readily available for telephone or on-site assistance as needed.
Fellows completing three years of training in the research pathway may elect to complete post-fellowship extra-murally funded research under the guidance of the research mentor.