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An Interview With “Dr. Rani” -- Rani Thekumparampil MD, FAAP, Neonatologist, Saint Barnabas Medical Center

“Dr. Rani” -- Rani Thekumparampil MD, FAAP, Neonatologist, Saint Barnabas Medical Center

Q: Where did you do your schooling?

A: At the Medical College Thiruvananthapuram in India, where I also did Pediatric residency.

Q: Where did you do your residency and training?

A: I did my Pediatric residency at Children’s Hospital of New Jersey at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center (NBIMC), Newark, NJ. Thereafter I worked at NBIMC as the Chief Resident in Pediatrics for a year. I did my fellowship in Neonatal and Perinatal Medicine at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, Bronx, NY.

Q: How long have you been working in the NICU here and/or anywhere else?

A: I worked as a neonatologist in Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx for a year before coming here to work about a year and a half ago.

Q: How did you know you wanted to be a NICU doctor?

A: Ever since I was little I just knew I wanted to do something that involved taking care of people. That eventually grew into deciding I wanted to go into medicine. It was during my residency at NBIMC that I figured out I wanted to take care of babies. I liked the challenge of intensive care and wanted to try to make a difference in the life of the little ones and their families.

Q: What have you liked the most about working in the SBMC NICU so far?

A: I appreciate how good the team is at what they do and how we all work together. Yes, there are very good doctors to work alongside here, but there are also very skilled nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists and more on the team. They are all dedicated to the best outcomes of the infants we care for. I have also really liked the continuity of care I am able to provide to babies and families here. The model of care in this NICU is unique in that each baby has an assigned neonatologists until discharge. This allows the neonatologist a great deal of ownership of the plan of care and the ability to really get to know the baby and the family, especially if it is a baby that needs to be here for a while.

Q: What does Family Centered Care mean to you?

A: To me Family Centered Care means the parents and staff are all working together and listening to each other and each other’s ideas about how to best care for the baby.

Q: What suggestions or advice do you have for NICU families?

A: I would say, “ask questions, get to know how your baby is doing each day and if you have a baby that needs to stay in the NICU for a few weeks or longer, please try to trust that the staff is doing everything for your baby when you cannot be here.”

Q: Anything else you would like to say about your job or working with the team in the NICU?

A: Just that I feel lucky to work with a great team but I also feel lucky to work in this new great facility and have all the technology we need at our fingertips. It’s also amazing to see the parents that come back to bring baked goods or visit or volunteer to be on our FAC. It shows how they value the care we provide.

Q: Do you have any hobbies you would be willing to share about?

A: Between my work and my family (complete with two young children) I don’t have much free time, but when I do, I like to read fiction.

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