http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbiw9y7IG4YWhen you walk into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU (CHoR), the first thing you will see are the smiling faces in the pictures of NICU graduates. From the play room for siblings to the talented specialists, the NICU at CHoR takes some stress off new parents while their baby gets strong enough to go home. With babies staying anywhere from 48 hours to 4 months, the NICU often becomes like a second home and the staff become family.“We develop such strong relationships with the families that we often keep up with them after the child graduates,” said Dr. Karen Hendricks-Muñoz, William Tate Graham Professor and chair of neonatal medicine at CHoR. “I like to tell the parents, I want to know what college their child ends up going to.”CHoR’s NICU is one of the first private room NICU’s in the country and every detail was designed to create a healing environment. The NICU team supports family involvement in all aspects of their child’s care and encourages a parent to spend the night in the newborn’s room. Each room includes a pull out sofa, desk with Internet access, a secure wardrobe and breast milk refrigerator.. The home-away-from-home environment helps promote mother-baby and family bonding.“The first family I met after coming to CHoR was a couple who had gone into early labor at 24 weeks,” said Dr. Hendricks-Muñoz. “They had a long and difficult stay, but were eventually able to take home their healthy baby boy. I recently had the pleasure of attending his first birthday party. The parents are now on our family council that helps other parents of NICU babies and meets with the NICU staff to evaluate provision of care. Stories like this are what make my job so rewarding.”Take a virtual video tour of the facility and see what makes the NICU so special. See if you can find out how many babies the NICU team cares for each year and submit your answer on our Facebook page for a chance to win CHoR swag. Be sure to check back soon for a tour of other CHoR facilities.