NEWS | February 15, 2019

Critical care transport nurses recognized for life-saving care

UC Davis Critical Care Transport Team serves 33 Northern California counties


At UC Davis Children’s Hospital, the Critical Care Transport (CCTT) program is a dedicated children’s transport team available to a 33-county area – and sometimes beyond – 24-hours a day, seven days a week. The team specializes in bringing an advanced level of care to infants and children at surrounding community hospitals, where appropriate resources may not be available.

The UC Davis Critical Care Transport Team celebrates 15 years. The UC Davis Critical Care Transport Team celebrates 15 years.

More than 900 children are transported each year to UC Davis Children’s Hospital by members of the Pediatric and Neonatal Transport Team. Transport team members have extensive experience and training to perform in this specialized role. When a critically ill or injured newborn, infant, or child needs a higher level of care, the team is dispatched to transport them back quickly and safely to UC Davis Children’s Hospital. 

Who is the UC Davis Critical Care Transport Team?

The team is comprised of 22 advanced role nurses with pediatric and neonatal critical care backgrounds and supervised by a UC Davis neonatologist or pediatric intensivist. When a transfer request for a higher level of care comes in, the attending physician at UC Davis discusses the case with the sending physician on a conference line, while the transport nurses listen in. 

When a decision is made to send the team, they then select the most efficient form of transport possible. They have the option to fly with a contracted flight company using a fixed-wing aircraft or helicopter or to go by ground in the specialized UC Davis Children’s Hospital Critical Care Transport ambulance.

The UC Davis Children’s Hospital CCTT Program started in 2004. In their first year, the team completed between 300 to 400 transports. Over the last three years, the team has completed over 900 transports each year.   

Jackie Hrabowksi has been working at UC Davis for 32 years and has been on the Children’s Hospital Critical Care Transport Team since 2004.  

“I love what I do every day because every day is different. Our goal is to go to outlying hospitals, stabilize our patients and transport them to our tertiary care center at UC Davis safely,” Hrabowski said.

The transport team is, many times, the first interaction patients and families have with UC Davis Children’s Hospital. 

What care do critical care transport nurses provide?

The best care begins with the right training, but also necessitates the right equipment. The transport team nurses are trained to intubate and manage ventilators, when necessary. Inhaled nitric oxide is available for neonatal and pediatric patients with pulmonary hypertension. Two new state-of-the-art transport isolettes are available. These isolettes are equipped with the latest medical equipment to aid in providing the high level of care required for the most vulnerable neonatal patients. High flow nasal cannula is also available on transport for both neonatal and pediatric patients.    

Newborns requiring transport have a high risk of morbidity. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) transport nurses are responsible for a fragile population of very premature infants to term infants in distress. 

Nurse Ingrid Samuels has been on the NICU transport team members since 2006, serving in an expanded role. When not on transport, she provides care at the bedside and attends high-risk deliveries. She is trained to intubate, place umbilical lines, perform needle thoracotomy and other emergency procedures on neonates.

“We usually go out on a call every day, as much as three times a day,” said Samuels. “During a transport, we stay with the NICU patient, report back to the physician and implement protocols and procedures.”  

The Critical Care Transport Team is funded by the Children's Miracle Network at UC Davis

For questions and additional information regarding the UC Davis Children’s Hospital Critical Care Transport Team, please contact Laura Kenny, assistant program manager, at 916-734-1033.