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November 7, 2019

Patricia Holt has always loved children and knew she wanted to do something with children in her career.

Holt graduated from West Virginia University in 2015 with a doctorate in physical therapy. She accepted a job at CAMC Women and Children's Hospital working with adults and children.

But she wasn't done. Holt wanted to become even more specialized in her profession by becoming certified in neonatal care. To achieve this certification, therapists must have at least three years of clinical experience; 3,500 hours of experience in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit; 40 hours of mentored experience; and 40 hours of continuing education about NICU-specific content.

After completing these milestones she recently passed the national certification exam making her the first, and currently the only, physical therapist in West Virginia to earn certification as a neonatal therapist, according to the Neonatal Therapy National Certification Board.

"The certification lets everyone know that I have specialized knowledge to work with these patients and that I'm giving them the best care possible," Holt said.

WATCH: Patricia Holt works with some of the smallest patients at CAMC.

Holt evaluates about 75% of the patients in CAMC's NICU. She's notified about all babies born before 32 weeks or who weigh less than about 3.3. pounds because they are more at-risk for developmental delays.

"I evaluate and provide specific interventions for babies with conditions such as neurologic, orthopedic, genetic or congenital risks," Holt said.

She examines the patient's muscle tone, reflexes, posture and movement among other things.

"Aside from my care for the patients, one of my goals is to provide parent education to help them bond with their babies," Holt said.

Holt also is certified in neonatal touch and massage.

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