Module NHS-3144:
Examination of the Neonate

Module Facts

Run by School of Health Sciences

30 Credits or 15 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Dr Mary Longworth

Overall aims and purpose

Completion of this module will enable midwives, registered in the UK, to competently perform a thorough, holistic examination of the healthy, term newborn, supported by underpinning theoretical knowledge that meets the requirements of the NICE Guidelines (2006). The initial development and subsequent review of this module has been in response to clinical demand and offers the practising midwife an opportunity to gain the necessary knowledge and skills required to conduct a full examination of the term neonate and refer as and when necessary. The mutual recognition of the respective role of the midwife with others who participate in the care of women and babies is inherent within the module ,whilst promoting and supporting the development of a range of skills to understand, interpret and manage as appropriate , the complex physiological changes in the neonate following birth. Those students who have completed the module through the BM (Hons) Midwifery programme from Bangor University from 2014, will only be expected to attend one study day and complete the summative competences and summative clinical examinations of a term neonate witnessed by a designated mentor. They will be required to complete the clinical competencies and neonatal examinations within 3 years from when they completed the BM (Hons) Midwifery programme.

Course content

May include, but not limited to: Normal fetal development/anatomy and physiology of the 7 systems • Transitional events in the neonatal period • Normal morphology of the neonate • Normal development of the infant • Clinical examination: recognition of the abnormal • Identification and management of Congenital abnormalities • Communication • Referral systems and local guidelines • Holistic approach to the care of the neonate and family • Professional, ethical and legal issues

Assessment Criteria


Good understanding of the facts and principles specific to the topics covered in this module. Good understanding of professional accountability issues. This equates to a minimum mark of Grade B- in the Grading Criteria.


Basic understanding of the facts and principles specific to the topics covered in this module. Basic understanding of professional accountability issues. Students will be required to achieve a minimum of D- grade in the assignment in order to pass the theory component of the module.


Very good understanding of the facts and principles specific to the topics covered in this module and evidence of additional evidence gained by the student. Very good understanding of professional accountability issues. This equates to a minimum mark of Grade A- in the Grading Criteria

Learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate the ability to identify normality in the term neonate with reference to the physiological adaptation to extra-uterine life.

  2. Recognise deviations from the norm and be able to refer when necessary
    / discuss the referral process.

  3. Demonstrate effective working across professional boundaries.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
ESSAY Examination of the newborn -Essay 100
LOGBOOK OR PORTFOLIO Clinical competencies for Examination of the Newborn for Midwives 0

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Private study

Theory hours [ 240 hours ] as personal study time distributed throughout module to enable completion of summative work.


Allocation of clinical notional learning hours [ 20 hours] enable completion of summative clinical experience. This can also include tutorials within clinical area with mentor / course facilitators and attendance at paediatric clinics.


Up to 40 hours of teaching sessions will be provided.

Sessions will be by the midwifery lecturing team, clinical midwives experienced in this area of practice, advanced neonatal nurse practitioners and by consultant paediatricians.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
  • Caring - Showing concern for others; caring for children, people with disabilities and/or the elderly
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in

Subject specific skills

Students must show skills in: Critical analysis and apply these skills to the examination of the neonate. Refer when appropriate Manage risk.
Use up to date appropriate evidence.
Update knowledge and skills.
Keep clear and accurate records.
Act with integrity.
Develop higher level problem-solving skills.
Uphold professional reputation.


Talis Reading list

Reading list

Baston, H and Durward, H. (2016). Examination of the newborn. A practical guide. third edition. Routledge Baker, K. (2013). Midwives should perform the routine examination of the newborn. British Journal of Midwifery; Pg 416-421. Davies,L. & McDonald, S. (2008). Examination of the newborn and neonatal health. Elsevier, London. Lumsden, H & Holmes., d. (2010). Care of the newborn by Ten Teachers. Hodder Arnold, London. National Institute of Clinical Evidence (NICE) (2006). Postnatal care up to 8 weeks after birth. NICE, London. Paton, R.W. , Quarrell, C. Rowe, F., Webb, D. (2015). Examination of the Newborn: an evidence based guide. 2nd ed. Wiley, London. Tappero, E.P., & Honeyfield, M.E. (2016). Physical assessment of the newborn. A comprehensive approach to the art of physical examination. (5th ed). Springer New York. Townsend J, Wolke D, Hayes J, Davé S, Rogers C, Bloomfield L, Quist-Therson E, Tomlin M, Messer D. (2004). Routine examination of the newborn: the EMREN study. Evaluation of an extension of the midwife role including a randomised controlled trial of appropriately trained midwives and paediatric senior house officers. Health Technology Assessment Volume: 8 Issue: 14

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules