A. Programme Specification for Advanced Diploma in Neonatal Care

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A. Programme Specification for Advanced Diploma in Neonatal Care
This programme may be undertaken on its own, or as part of a longer degree pathway. Further information on choices and opportunities to access pathways can be obtained from the Advanced Midwifery Pathway Leader, or from any of the academic staff.

1. Awarding institution

Middlesex University

2. Teaching institution

Middlesex University

3. Programme accredited by

Middlesex University

4. Final qualification

Advanced Diploma in Neonatal Care

5. Programme title

Advanced Diploma in Neonatal Care

6. UCAS code (or other relevant coding system)


7. Relevant QAA subject benchmark group(s)

Health care subject – Midwifery

8. Academic Year

9. Reference points

The following reference points were used in designing this programme:

Audit Commission (1998). First Class Delivery: A national survey of women's views of maternity care. Oxford, Audit Commission.

Calman K. (1993) Hospital doctors: Training for the future: The report of the Working Group on Specialist Medical Training. Department of Health London:

Changing Childbirth Implementation Team (CCIT) (1997) Changing Childbirth and the Baby CCIT Milton Keynes

Department of Health (1998). A First Class Service The Stationery Office. London,

Department of Health (1999). Making a Difference. The Stationery Office .London,

Department of Health (2000). The NHS Plan: A plan for investment, A plan for reform.

London, The Stationery Office London

Department of Health (2006). Our Health, our care our say, - White Paper Department of Health – accessible on web-site: http://www.dh.gov.uk/NewsHome/YourHealthYourCareYourSay/fs/en

Department of Health 2004 Maternity Standard, National Service Framework for Children, Young People and Maternity Services. HMSO

Dimond B (2006) The Legal Aspects of Midwifery Butterworth Heinneman

Expert Maternity Group (1993). Changing Childbirth (The Cumberlege Report), HMSO London

Hall D, Elliman D 2006 Health for all children Oxford University press OUP Oxford

Michaelides S 2011 Examination and care of the newborn in Henderson C and Macdonald S E Mayes Midwifery Elsevier Edinburgh

Middlesex University Guide and Regulations 2006/2007

Middlesex University School of Health and Social Science Assessment Policy 2005/2006

Middlesex University School of Health and Social Science Teaching and Learning Strategy 2006

NHS Quality Improvement Scotland 2004 Routine Examination of the newborn NHS Quality Improvement Scotland Edinburgh and Glasgow

National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) 2006 Clinical Guideline: Postnatal care - full guideline accessible at NICE web-site: http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/CG37/guidance/pdf/English/download.dspx

Newborn Life Support sub-committee. (2011). Newborn Life Support. (3rd edition). London: Resuscitation Council

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) (2004). Midwives rules and standards. NMC London

Royal College of Midwives (2000). Vision 2000. London, RCM, London

Royal College of Midwives (2001). Vision 2000 into practice – Birth centers London, RCM, London

Royal College of Midwives (2006) Refocusing the role of the midwife RCM London

Standing Nursing and Midwifery Advisory Committee (1998). Midwifery: Delivering Our Future. Department of Health London,

J Townsend, D Wolke, J Hayes, S Davé, C Rogers, L Bloomfield, E Quist-Therson, M Tomlin and D Messe (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; Vol 8: number 14

UK National Screening Committee (2008) Newborn Physical Examination Physical examination of the newborn and 6 - 8 week old at http://www.screening.nhs.uk/physical/index.htm

10. Aims of the programme

This two module programme aims to provide an exciting opportunity to develop student’s knowledge from the more explicit links and synergy between the two modules. This is designed primarily for midwives, but may be useful for some neonatal nurses and other practitioners, to provide the highest standard of care to the neonate and his/her family, and to lead the care and management as befits the true autonomous role of the midwife.

The rapidly changing milieu of maternity services has fundamentally affected the role of the midwife and organisation of maternity services. This has led to midwives requiring additional knowledge to support the skills of the in-depth physiological and psychological assessment of the newborn as an holistic examination, and midwifery led resuscitation of the newborn. Whilst midwives are trained in both during their initial pre-registration education, and continuing education provision, this has previously been at a more basic level of skills, not sufficient to provide the requisite knowledge, competence and confidence.

Completing this programme will enable the midwife to undertake this care with a firm foundation of sophisticated theoretical and practical skills in physical and psychological assessment, and in management of the neonate.

In addition to the learning outcomes of each module, the added outcomes expected through undertaking both modules as the Advanced Diploma are to:

  • Develop practitioners knowledge of applied fetal and neonatal physiology

  • Prepare practitioners for autonomous practice, with skills of midwifery led resuscitation of the new-born and holistic examination of the newborn

  • Provide additional academic recognition for the advanced theoretical and practical knowledge and skills attained

  • Be able to critically reflect on your practice within neonatal care

  • To have a high level of competence and confidence to be able to lead and develop care for the neonate within contemporary maternity services.

  • To take forward and produce guidelines and policy changes within the clinical area of practice

To act as a role model to peer group and student nurses/midwives

11. Programme outcomes - the programme offers opportunities for students to achieve and demonstrate the following learning outcomes.

A. Knowledge and understanding

On completion of this programme the successful student will have knowledge and understanding of:

  1. Expert knowledge of fetal and neonatal physiology and its application to practice.

  2. In depth knowledge of normal physiology and be able to recognise when there is a deviation from the normal adaptation to extra-uterine life in the neonate

  3. Advanced knowledge of the physiology of the fetal cardio-respiratory system, which underpin the changes that occur to the neonate at birth; the patho-physiology of birth asphyxia; and the clinical assessment of the new-born.

  4. Theoretical and practical understanding of thermoregulation for neonates.

  5. Knowledge about the importance of observation and stabilisation of the baby following resuscitation and transfer to a safe environment/unit;

Teaching/learning methods

Students gain knowledge and understanding through reading, listening attending lectures and tutorials, and through preparing work for seminars and presentations.

There are opportunities provided for revising and exploring physiology and management at a deeper level through the use of workbooks, physiology colouring books and E-learning.

Students are also supported during the course by practitioners who have completed the programme and are skilled in both examination of the newborn and in midwifery-led resuscitation


Students’ knowledge and understanding is assessed formatively through classroom sessions. The Lecturers are able to provide continuous feedback in order for students to undertake remedial work well ahead of the final assessment. Summatively students are assessed through the written and practical assessments, and completion of clinical records.

B. Cognitive (thinking) skills

On completion of this programme the successful student will be able to:

  1. Reflect on and critically analyse on your own practice, and the impact of the practice of others in the context of the care and examination of the neonate.

  2. Formulate an evaluation tool to guide practice, which will form an individualised approach to the care of the neonate and a written plan of care

  3. Identify and assess maternal and fetal factors (antenatal and intrapartum), and the underpinning patho-physiology, which may predispose to the need for neonatal resuscitation, and take appropriate action;

  4. Critically evaluate your own role and the role of other health professionals in the resuscitation of the new-born

  5. Make appropriate referral to paediatric & neonatal colleagues and provide effective assistance in the case of a severely asphyxiated neonate at birth;

  6. Speculate upon professional, legal and ethical aspects of neonatal resuscitation and examination of the new-born in practice

Teaching/learning methods

Students learn cognitive skills through development of theoretical learning, and in debating and discussion the theoretical principles and how these might be translated into practice. Opportunities are also provided by problem solving exercises, scenario work and experiential learning. An important part of this programme lies within the experiential learning in both the classroom and clinical area which provides a safe practicum for developing the students’ knowledge and skills


Students’ cognitive skills are assessed by discussion during classroom and tutorial sessions with the module leader and with the student’s personal tutor. Student presentations, written work and the final practical examination and viva voce also test this ability.

C. Practical skills

On completion of the programme the successful student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a high level of ability in the practical skills of physical assessment and resuscitation of the new-born

  2. Exhibit exemplary communication and educational skills in practice, between practitioner and mother and family, and other professionals.

  3. Demonstrate the requisite skills in critically assessing the normal neonate, in order to refer the neonate to the appropriate medical personnel in the case of any abnormalities or deviations from normal.

  1. Select and utilise creatively resources to be able to examine the new-born in a variety of settings and contexts.

  2. Exhibit competence and sophisticated problem solving skills during examination of the neonate, and during emergency resuscitation of the neonate including the effective use of suction, bag and mask, intubation and the provision of oxygen and cardiac massage

  3. Support and communicate with parents whose baby requires resuscitation

  4. Utilise and teach others accurate and contemporaneous record keeping, so that accurate judgement is made on the management and prognosis of the neonate.

Teaching/learning methods
Students learn practical skills through classroom sessions dealing with the application of theory to practice, problem solving and scenario work, and through sessions in the clinical skills laboratory, using manikins and models.

Students will also learn through clinical based learning sessions, and through their own work based learning activities with the support of the module leader and the clinical mentor.

Students’ practical skills are assessed by means of formative practice sessions from which students receive immediate feedback. Student also complete summative assessment:

MWY 3440: an actual examination of a normal neonate followed by a viva voce, supplemented by 70 clinical examinations of babies

MWY 3451: a scenario and practical examination involving resuscitation of the newborn in a practicum, supplemented by a written assignment of 2500 words

D.4 & D5. Graduate Skills*

On completion of this programme the successful student will be able to:

  1. Critically appraise and apply literature, research and other appropriate evidence in assessment, planning provision of care relating to neonatal examination and resuscitation

  2. Contribute to the optimum and highest quality of neonatal care in any setting.

  3. Critically evaluate your own role and the role of other health professionals in the examination of the new-born.

  4. Reflect on and critically analyse on your own practice, and the impact of the practice of others in the context of the care and examination of the neonate, and in the resuscitation of the newborn.

Teaching/learning methods
Students acquire graduate skills through developing their knowledge base via reading, discussion and formal teaching opportunities. Students are encouraged to be autonomous in their learning, and take responsibility for their learning and development.
Students’ graduate skills are assessed by the formative and summative assessment, and through their perceived development within their professional sphere.

12. Programme structure and requirements, levels, modules, credits and awards

12. 1 Overall structure of the programme

Provides the opportunity for students to undertake a flexible study pathway which is relevant to their practice in the changing NHS

The programme consists of two modules MWY 3451 Resuscitation of the Newborn and MWY 3440 Neuro Behavioural Physiological Assessment of the Newborn.

The student may commence the programme with either module. MWY 3451 normally runs over the first term for a period of 11 weeks. MWY 3440 runs over 2 terms of 21 weeks in term 2 and summer term. Teaching occurs both in the classrooms and in the clinical area. The whole programme would take a full academic year.

12.2 Levels and modules.

Level 3


MWY 3440

MWY 3451




Successful completion of both modules

Students must take all of the following:
MWY 3451

Resuscitation of the Newborn

15 credits
MWY 3440



Assessment of Newborn

45 credits



Need to be successful in completing both compulsory modules

This includes assessment of written work; assignment and written examination; practical examinations and VIVA VOCEs, and clinical record book

13. A curriculum map relating learning outcomes to modules

See Curriculum Map

14. Criteria for admission to the Programme

Selection to the programme will be carried out in accordance with the Middlesex University’s general regulations for admission and the requirements for each module.

Prior to entering the programme, applicants are interviewed by the Programme Leader with the aim of providing an individual programme of self directed study to be undertaken by the applicant prior to joining a level 6 programme.

Before entering the formal study of this programme, applicants need to show evidence that they are able to study at level 6., and should be practising in midwifery/neonatal nursing health professional as you have included neonatal nurses in above text or in an area where they will have access to the appropriate experience. Evidence which indicates this ability includes:

Successful completion of another module at level 6

Completion of Level 5 work

Evidence through professional portfolio of completion of level 5 and 6 work, professional experience, and continuing professional education certification

15. Information about assessment regulations

The Middlesex University Regulations overarch this programme. This professional programme does not allow for compensation. Students normally have a total of two attempts at each assessment unit. A student who successfully completes one module and not the other, cannot be awarded the Advanced Diploma in neonatal care, but may be able to use the academic credits towards another award or pathway, and should contact the Pathway Leader for advice.

Students who have mitigating circumstances should complete the appropriate form, and should inform the Assessment Office, including supporting evidence.

16. Indicators of quality

Both MWY 3440 and MWY 3451 have been validated by the Middlesex University and previously were of a quality suitable for an ENB approved course (Previously approved as N96 and R37)

Both courses have consistently been deemed to be of high quality during the QAA appraisal of 2004, and by the students and the sponsoring NHS Units. Both modules consistently attract high numbers of midwives and neonatal nurses from the Partner Trusts, but also from national units.

17. Particular support for learning

Both Modules are led by an expert in the field of midwifery led neonatal care. The module leader is a member of national working groups of the UK Resuscitation Council and Royal College of Paediatrics and UK National Screening Committee. Both modules were the first such programmes to be designed and delivered within the UK, and have provided a template for others in their development.

Both modules are mature and therefore there is a large group of practitioners who have completed the programme, and can provide peer support to current students. Students also have access to the course lectures that include neonatalogists, specialist practitioners and psychologists. In addition, students who might particular needs in terms of some academic aspects of the programme also have access to The Learner Development Unit (LDU) and this can be as small groups or as individuals.

Students with problems such as dyslexia can be speedily referred to the Able centres for assessment and specialist support.

18. Methods for evaluating and improving the quality and standards of learning

Each session is evaluated informally, and then students complete evaluation forms which they may choose to put their names on or not. There is an opportunity for students to also verbalise their views on the programme, and what could be improved. The programme team also participate in this to provide a full perspective on the programme

The module Leader is then able to compile a report on the programme, which is then presented at the Board of Studies meeting, and therefore is accessed by students.

Students are also invited to participate in the Board of Studies and highlight any issues which need attention.

The assessment results also provide information on the success of learning. A sample of the students assessed work is sent to the External Examiner for evaluation, to ensure that assessment processes and procedures are valid, consistent and fair. This is followed by the Assessment Board, at which any problems or issues of concern regarding the assessment process can be discussed, and amended if needed. Information from the External Examiners has indicated that the quality of the feedback provided to students are of a high quality, and that this should enable students to improve the quality of their work, should this be needed.

19. Placement opportunities, requirements and support (if applicable)

As the students are already working within the environment as a requisite for the programme, placements are not required

20. Future careers: how the programme supports graduates’ future career development.

Students on this programme are usually experienced midwifery or neonatal nurse practitioners, and completion of this programme allows the student additional career progression to consultant midwife; clinical nurse specialist or educationalist.

21. Other information.

These modules enhance the role of the midwife to fully meet both European Community (EC) and national standards as an autonomous practitioner in the care of woman and her baby. The quality of this care has far reaching effect into the future for our society.
Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) (2004). Midwives rules and standards. NMC London

EC Midwives Directive 80/155/EEC Article 4

Please note: this specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the student subject/programme handbook and the University Guide and Regulations.


1 Compulsory modules are those that must be taken, that is, the qualification cannot be made unless these modules have been successfully completed. Each of these modules makes a unique contribution to the learning objectives of the programme or subject major/minor.

2 Designated modules are those from which a specified minimum number must be taken, that is, the qualification cannot be given unless this specified minimum number of designated modules have been successfully completed. Each of the possible combinations of designated modules will make a similarly unique contribution to the achievement of the learning objectives of the programme or subject major/minor.

3 Optional modules are modules that may be taken at the discretion of the student. It is not necessary to complete optional modules to achieve the qualification (assuming other awarding conditions are met). Optional modules make a non-unique contribution to the achievement of the learning objectives of the programme or subject major/minor.

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