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How well do midwives use skills and knowledge in examining newborns?

Lanlehin, R., Dr Noble, H. & McCourt, C. (2011). How well do midwives use skills and knowledge in examining newborns?. British Journal of Midwifery, 19(11), pp. 687-691.


Physical examination of the newborn (PEN) was established as part of postnatal care in the late 1960s. The role of discharging babies within the first 72 hours of birth was traditionally undertaken by junior doctors. Currently midwives, nurses, advanced nurse practitioners, and health visitors are being trained to undertake the PEN (NHS Screening Programmes, 2010). However, only a fraction of midwives utilize their acquired skills in clinical practice. A survey by Townsend et al (2004) showed that 2% of babies in England were examined by midwives while 83% were examined by junior doctors.This study aimed to evaluate how well midwives who undertook the PEN course between 2002 and 2005 (n=40) at a large London University utilized the skills acquired on the course. Questionnaires with a series of open and closed questions were sent out by post followed by phone and email reminders. The eight that responded were midwives. All respondents said they were appropriately trained and felt well prepared for their role to examine babies. However, they felt they were not provided with opportunities to use the skills. Guidelines based on this extended role are available in the workplace but only a few midwives seemed to have negotiated time to implement these and may need greater managerial support for the role.

Publication Type: Article
Subjects: R Medicine > RT Nursing
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Midwifery & Radiography
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