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FAQs About Our Neonatal Perinatal Medicine Fellowship

These frequently asked questions for the Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellowship at Goryeb Children's Hospital at Morristown Medical Center will help you get a better understanding of the details of the program.

Is scheduling flexible?

Yes. A fellow’s call schedule is designed to provide them clinical experience and education, and not to provide service and convenience for the attendings. Fellows will not be expected to cover all nights of the week, so there is a great deal of flexibility. We are an extremely congenial team, accustomed to helping each other out when necessary. We make every attempt to honor requests for flexibility.

How often is a fellow on-call?

The average work week during a four week clinical block will be 60 hours, which will include two weekend day shifts and two night call shifts. By contrast, during a research and elective block, a fellow’s clinical service will be less - approximately one of every six weekday nights and one of every six weekend days. This schedule is designed such that a fellow can devote maximum time and focus to research and/or electives.

How does night shift work?

Overnight our unit staffs one attending, a neonatal nurse practitioner and a resident in-house. When a fellow is on-service at night, there will be an attending in-house. As a fellow’s confidence, experience and ability increases in-line with their level of training, they will be afforded more opportunity during overnight shifts to act independently and take on greater responsibility, and work without a neonatal nurse practitioner.

How does weekend call work?

During the weekend our unit staffs one attending, a neonatal nurse practitioner and a resident in-house, as well as one additional day-shift neonatal nurse practitioner. Fellows will be expected to cover two weekend days and two weekend nights during a four week clinical block.

How is a fellow supported during call?

Early in fellowship a neonatal nurse practitioner will be available 24 hours a day. In addition, an in-house attending will be available 24 hours a day. Should the workload exceed that which can be safely managed by the faculty and fellow, an additional faculty member is on-call to be immediately available to come and assist. As a fellow’s confidence, experience and ability increases, in-line with their level of training, they will be afforded more opportunity to act independently, and take on greater responsibility.

Program Organization

What is the size of the program?

Our program is new, we will accept our first fellow in 2023. We will accept one fellow per year after that, for a total of three fellows at any one time. We think this is the perfect size. Our fellows will have the chance to work closely with our faculty, advanced practitioners, researchers and nursing staff – which we believe will give them a robust educational experience. It also means that our fellows will have many opportunities for research, electives and leadership.

How are the NICU teams organized?

We operate two care teams (Monday – Friday):

  • An acute team that includes an attending, advanced practitioner (NNP or PA) and two to three residents and covers approximately two-thirds of the NICU patients
  • A step-down team that includes an attending and one NNP and covers the lower acuity babies who are nearing discharge.

In addition, a neonatal attending and a neonatal nurse practitioner are present to cover labor and delivery, procedures and transports. On weekends and holidays there is a single team. Overnight our unit staffs one attending, a neonatal nurse practitioner and a resident in-house.


Do you have a neonatal follow-up unit?

Yes. Our high-risk NICU patients are referred to the Child Development and Autism Center at Atlantic Health System. The department staffs three full-time developmental-behavioral pediatricians (DBPs) and four full-time advanced practice behavioral specialists, OTs, PTs, an applied behavioral therapist and speech/language/feeding specialists.

Fellows will have the opportunity to experience clinic days at the Child Development and Autism Center and will participate in developmental screening assessments (e.g. Bayley Scales of Infant Development, Gesell Developmental Schedules, and MCHAT) and recommend appropriate services for our high-risk neonates.

Is there protected time for research and other scholarly activities?

Research and elective rotations are four-weeks long, and tend to be grouped together, to allow fellows sufficient time to complete projects and/or truly have time to hunker down in an elective. These blocks are mostly uninterrupted by clinical responsibilities. Night and weekend call is limited during research and elective rotations to prevent clinical demands from interfering with scholarly activities. In year three, fellows will be given three sequential blocks of research time (blocks 10, 11, and 12). If they decide to use block 9 for research rather than for an optional elective, they will have five continuous blocks of research time (block 8 - 12). For those interested, this schedule will provide 20-weeks at the end of their fellowship, with limited on-call responsibilities, in which to complete their scholarly activity.

How are fellows supported in pre-clinical and translational research?

The division of neonatology has unique opportunities for fellows interested in preclinical and translational research. Many of our clinical staff work closely with PhD scientists, in order to facilitate their investigations into important medical issues affecting premature infants; in order to develop novel therapies and increase our understanding of these conditions. Our active projects include the use of exosomes as a potential therapy for chronic lung disease, the study of various breast milk components, such as oligosaccharides, for preventing necrotizing enterocolitis, the effect of prenatal stress on neonatal development; and most recently, a variety of projects on COVID-19. Neonatal-perinatal medicine fellows have access to state-of-the-art research laboratory space, located within close proximity to Atlantic Health System hospitals. Funded in part through grants, including National Institutes of Health, this collaborative partnership enables our faculty to engage in truly cutting-edge translational research for the benefit of improving health outcomes for premature infants.


What is the relationship between other health care professionals in the NICU and the fellow?

Fellows will be expected to be role models and mentors for fellow health care professionals (residents, nurses, etc.) and are required to work collectively and collegially with others. For example, fellows will participate in all clinical service rounds and huddles during their scheduled shifts; and as their experience and confidence strengthens, they will take on leadership roles in these groups. Fellows may also guide residents during their rotation through the NICU, both in terms of clinical practice and in scholarly activity, such during the preparation of their presentations. Fellows will also be expected to be actively involved in quality improvement projects, which will require collaboration with a wide range of other health care providers.

What is the patient population like?

Goryeb Children's Hospital is the regional pediatric referral center and trauma center for northwest New Jersey. Our patient population represents true diversity of cultural, religions, socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. More than 150 languages are spoken in our region. We see it all – urban, suburban, recent immigrant, disadvantaged and privileged families of many varied backgrounds. Each group brings its own set of challenges, diseases and opportunities for learning in an atmosphere of true cultural diversity. Atlantic Health System has a large maternal-fetal medicine practice, which attracts many woman with high-risk deliveries that have a high likelihood of NICU admission. We are also a regional transport center. Therefore, in the NICU, we handle newborns born to both low-risk and high-risk mothers.

Do you have electronic medical records?

Yes.  As of June 2018, charting and ordering is done through MyChart, powered by Epic, in all care areas.

Are there opportunities for moonlighting?

Yes, there is the opportunity for paid moonlighting on the newborn nursery and special care nursery at Chilton Medical Center (which is covered by the division of neonatology). There may also be separate opportunities within the department of pediatrics. However, hours spent moonlighting count towards ACGME-proscribed duty hours, so all moonlighting must be approved by the program director.