I was a bit wary of the idea when we started allowing parents in on rounds at another hospital about fifteen years ago, but I soon found that I liked it- a lot. It was a good way for parents to hear what was going on with their baby. It was a good way for parents to hear us going through a lot of data about their baby, to hear that some of the problems were quite complex. It was good, I think, for them to see that not everything is black and white, and what sometimes we struggled with decisions we weren't sure about.
Some doctors, though, aren't wild about having parents present. Doctors with less experience, like the residents, might feel a little insecure having parents hear them present on rounds. Some doctors might not like it that we can't use derogatory terms like "gork," but the truth is , we shouldn't be using terms like that even when parents aren't around. Some might worry, with some legitimacy, about patient confidentiality, but that can usually be maintained by speaking in measured tones away from the direction of people who shouldn't hear about a given patient. And the real truth is, there is hardly any patient confidentiality in the NICU anyway. All the parents tell each other about their babies' problems in the waiting room or hallway.
What bugs me is that I can't get the nurses to do report with the parents in the NICU. Twice a day, everyday, from 7 to 7:30, the nurses kick all the visitors out for their report. It's so archaic, so twentieth century. Sometimes parents get a little ticked off because they have to wait outside for half an hour. What the nurses don't seem to understand is that the information they give each other in report belongs, ultimately, not to the nurses, but to the babies and their parents. I've brought this up at least half a dozen times with nursing management, but to no avail. I think they fear a revolt by the nurses if they let the parents in.