MW0630 - Neonatal Special and High Dependency care

What will I learn on this module?

You will develop your knowledge and understanding of the infant and family requiring specialist and high dependency care. You will begin by understanding neonatal physiology from conception to birth, and understand how an infant’s physiology changes to adapt to extra uterine life. You will also learn how any altered physiology/abnormality can lead to ill health within the Neonatal period, requiring specialist and high dependency care. You will learn the importance of a collaborative approach to family centred care and how the needs of the infant’s family are essential to Neonatal practice. You will understand the complexities of caring for a child requiring specialist and high dependency care in relation to nutrition, hydration, pain management, infection prevention, resuscitation, discharge and transfer to neighbouring units or home. The module builds the foundation to discuss these issues and others in the intensive care infant, in the second module of the award.
You will also learn how neighbouring units care for infants and will discuss differences in care and practice to understand Neonatal care regionally.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn through lectures, seminars, group work, use of on-line resources and discussion boards, supported by group/individual tutorials.
This varied approach allows you as an individual and with Neonatal colleagues from many units to question the knowledge base that underpins Neonatal care and informs your professional role. Working within one unit can limit your ability to question practice. However, as all students in the module are from Neonatal units, and all share similar approaches to care, you can discuss different approaches with like-minded individuals, to identity areas for improvement and development in your specific area. Also, as units vary in intensity you will discuss practice and the evidence base underpinning the care of infants you may not care for.
The module runs at level 6 (graduate certificate) and level 7 (Masters level post graduate certificate). Students from both levels are taught together to reinforce the collaborative and sharing approach to learning through seminars and discussion. The level of inquiry, critique and ability to synthesis new knowledge and understanding in the summative final assignment is what separates the two levels.
You will have access to 24/7 generic IT support and access to the full range of student administration and support services offered by Northumbria University which includes library and learning support outlined fully in the module handbook.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported by the module leader who will support you with general academic advice to help you achieve your full academic potential; this will include both informal discussions at a group level, and individual tutorials. Student led debates and case study presentations will also develop your academic skills. Discussion boards will be used to allow you to share ideas and post questions for the group while you are in practice.
Additional needs can be discussed with the module tutor as they arise. If you have an existing disability which affects your study performance, or believe you may have a disability that impacts on your ability to learn, you may be eligible to access help from the university student support team. The student support team will liaise with module tutor to ensure you are offered appropriate support to help you get the most from your studies.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

Allen, K. (2011) Neonatal thermal care: A discussion of two incubator modes for optimising thermoregulation. A care study. Journal of Neonatal Nursing. 17, 2; 43-48

Aylott, M. (2006a) The Neonatal energy triangle part 1; Metabolic adaptation. Paediatric Nursing. 18, 6, 38-42.

Aylott, M. (2006b) The Neonatal energy triangle part 2; Thermoregulatory and respiratory adaptation Paediatric Nursing. 18, 7, 38-43

Bissinger, R., & Annibale, D. (2010) Thermoregulation in Very Low-Birth-Weight Infants During the Golden Hour Results and Implications. Advances in Neonatal Care. 10, 5, 230-238

Boxwell, G (2010) Neonatal Intensive care Nursing (2nd Edn) London. Routledge.

Bredemeyer, S., Reid, S., & Wallace, M. (2005) Thermal management for premature births. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 52, 5, 482–489.

British association of Perinatal medicine (2012). Matching knowledge and skills for qualified in speciality (QIS) Neonatal nurses. BAPM. London

Cloherty, J,. P. Eichenwald, E., C. Hansen, A., R. Stark, A., R (2012) Manual of Neonatal care (7th Edn) Lipincott. London

De Rooy, L, Alandgady, N. Aidoo, E. (2012) Palliative care for the new-born in the United Kingdom. Early Human development. 88. 73-77

Fenton, A, Leslie, A (2012) The state of neonatal transport services in the UK. Arch Dis Child. Fetal Neonatal Ed. 97, 477–481

Knobel, R. & Holditch-Davis, D. (2007) Thermoregulation and Heat Loss Prevention After Birth and During Neonatal Intensive-Care Unit Stabilization of Extremely Low-Birthweight Infants. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing. 36, 3, 280-287.

Laptook, A., Salhab, W., Bhaskar, B., & Neonatal Research Network (2007) Admission Temperature of Low Birth Weight Infants: Predictors and Associated Morbidities. Pediatrics. 119, 3, 643-649

Lam,V, Kain, N, Joynt, C3 and Van Manen, M,A (2016) A descriptive report of end-of-life care practices occurring in two neonatal intensive care units. Palliative Medicine 2016, Vol. 30(10) 971 –978

Levene, I,. L. Tudehope, D., I, Thearle , M., J (2000) Essentials of Neonatal medicine (3rd Edn) london, Blackwell science.

Lissauer, T and Fanaroff, A (2006) Neonatology at a glance. London. Blackwell publishing.

Mancini, A. Uthaya, S. Beardsley, C. Wood, D. Modi, N. (2014) Practical guidance for the management of palliative care on neonatal units. RCPCH

Morris, I and Adappa, R (2015) Early care of the preterm infant. Paediatrics and child health

Nelson, L.P (2012) Palliative care in Neonatal intensive care units. Journal of critical care. 27. 95-96

NHS England (2015) Shape the caring review: Neonatal Nurse QIS education and competency project. NHS England.

NICE (2011) Specialist Neonatal care quality standards. NICE. London
Royal College of Nursing (2012) Matching Knowledge and skills for qualified in speciality (QIS) Neonatal Nurses. RCN. London

Toolkit for High-Quality Neonatal Services. Department of Health (2009) Standards for Hospitals Providing Neonatal Intensive and High Dependency care

Sinha, S., Miall, L., Jardine., L (2012) Essential Neonatal Medicine. London. Wiley Blackwell.

Quality standard for specialist neonatal care. (2010) National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. You will critically analyse the national, organisational and professional standards, guidelines and policies, alongside the evidence base which informs Neonatal specialist and high dependency care. Together with the contribution a Neonatal qualified in speciality nurse/midwife (QIS) makes to delivering sustainable specialist and high dependency care
2. You will conceptualise key concepts and theories in specialist practice to analyse dominant discourses in the context of specialist and high dependency care
3. You will apply knowledge and understanding to demonstrate how specialist and high dependency care is managed and coordinated at a regional level.
Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
1. You will critically apply legislation, professional guidelines, and ethical principles to professional practice
2. You will look critically at the specific care of an infant and family, to build intellectual knowledge and question professional practice.
3. You will recognise the role of collaborative working. With both the regional network and through a collaborative approach with parents/carers to deliver high quality specialist care.
4. You will critically reflect on your own intellectual, professional skills & abilities and develop action plans to problem solve and achieve personal and professional goals

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
1. You will work collaboratively with peers in a learning community, this will help you to develop professional networks and peer support opportunities
2. You will formulate action-plans to meet the module learning outcomes and your own personal, professional goals as part of a strategy for lifelong learning and professional learning

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment:
Verbal feedback will be given from the module lead and peers throughout the module during classroom teaching and seminars. You will also be able to engage in group discussion within the timetabled group tutorial and further online tutorials provided within the module.

Summative assessment:
The final assessment for this module is in two parts
1. A pass/refer anatomy and physiology written exam
2. A case study of an infant receiving specialist and high dependency care
3. Completion of a clinical competency document

Students will need to demonstrate:
• Sound knowledge and understanding of the anatomy and physiology/altered physiology of the developing fetus.
• Sound knowledge and understanding of the evidence base underpinning the care received by the infant in the case study (LO 1,4)
• Critique and propose alternative approaches that can be undertaken to deliver the care needed. Ensuring service users and carers are effectively involved.(LO 2,3)

1. You will receive written feedback following your summative assessment and clinical competency, which will indicate the mark awarded for the module and areas for future development.
2. Anatomy and physiology exam will be returned in week 5


In order to access this module you must hold a degree level qualification


Neonatal intensive care

Module abstract

The module has been designed to meet the needs of nursing and midwifery staff caring for a special and high dependency infant in the Neonatal unit. The module, alongside the Neonatal intensive care module, lead to the award of graduate certificate (level 6) (Specialist Neonatal Practice). The module allows you to explore Neonatal practice with colleagues from many units in the region, to engage in discussion and debate to understand the complexities and challenges caring for an infant and their family receiving special and high dependency care.
The module explores the specialist needs of infants in Neonatal units, to understand how thermoregulation, nutrition, pain management and infection control among many topics. You will also understand the physiological changes as an infant adapts to extra uterine life, and how problems with this transition lead to infants requiring your care.

Course info

Credits 30

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 2 years part-time

Department Nursing, Midwifery & Health

Location Coach Lane Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2023

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing.

Full time Courses starting in 2023 are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but may include elements of online learning. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with additional restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors, potentially to a full online offer, should further restrictions be deemed necessary in future. Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.


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