Newborn Assessment

Course #32264 - $60 -


Every infant presents uniquely and has certain individual needs. While the vast majority of infants transition without problems, some present with anatomic, physiologic, infectious, and developmental issues that must be addressed. The assessment of the newborn should begin with obtaining a health history and include the initial Apgar assessment, the transitional assessment during the periods of reactivity, the assessment of gestational age, and the systemic physical examination. This systematic approach ensures a thorough exam. Nurses in many different areas of nursing conduct newborn assessments. The information provided includes warning signs, which require immediate attention, as well as basic normal assessment findings in the newborn. Due to the large volume of information, this course will cover only the first 24 hours of life.

Education Category: Pediatrics
Release Date: 09/01/2023
Expiration Date: 08/31/2026

Table of Contents


This course is designed for all medical-surgical nurses and ancillary nursing personnel involved in the assessment of newborns.

Accreditations & Approvals

In support of improving patient care, NetCE is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team. NetCE is accredited by the International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). NetCE complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard, which is recognized internationally as a standard of excellence in instructional practices. As a result of this accreditation, NetCE is authorized to issue the IACET CEU.

Designations of Credit

NetCE designates this continuing education activity for 10 ANCC contact hour(s). NetCE designates this continuing education activity for 10 hours for Alabama nurses. NetCE is authorized by IACET to offer 1 CEU(s) for this program. AACN Synergy CERP Category A.

Individual State Nursing Approvals

In addition to states that accept ANCC, NetCE is approved as a provider of continuing education in nursing by: Alabama, Provider #ABNP0353, (valid through July 29, 2025); Arkansas, Provider #50-2405; California, BRN Provider #CEP9784; California, LVN Provider #V10662; California, PT Provider #V10842; District of Columbia, Provider #50-2405; Florida, Provider #50-2405; Georgia, Provider #50-2405; Kentucky, Provider #7-0054 through 12/31/2025; South Carolina, Provider #50-2405; West Virginia RN and APRN, Provider #50-2405.

Course Objective

The purpose of this course is to provide an overview of a newborn assessment for all nurses, especially those who either presently care for newborns or those who come in contact with them occasionally.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Outline important points of a prenatal history.
  2. Describe immediate post-birth care and examination of the placenta.
  3. Analyze guidelines and strategies for assigning Apgar scores and the implications of maintaining a thermoneutral environment for the newborn.
  4. Discuss the importance of general measurements and determination of gestational age.
  5. Identify important aspects of the newborn skin assessment.
  6. Review key components of the assessment of the newborn's head, face, and neck.
  7. Evaluate newborns' reflexes and other relevant neurologic findings.
  8. Outline the steps involved in the assessment of the newborn's chest and respiratory system, including identifying signs of respiratory distress.
  9. Appropriately evaluate the newborn's cardiovascular system, with attention to potential congenital heart defects.
  10. Describe key aspects of the newborn abdomen assessment.
  11. Identify warning signs and normal findings when assessing the newborn's genitourinary system.
  12. Discuss the inspection of the newborn's extremities, back, and spine.


Nicole F. Keehn, RN, MSN, PsyD, received a Master’s of Science, with emphasis on the pediatric critical care population, from Texas Woman’s University in 1993. She completed her doctorate in clinical and neuropsychology at Argosy University in Dallas, Texas. She was employed as the intensive care educator at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, Texas, and as a clinical nurse in the intensive care unit at Children's Medical Center of Dallas, Texas. Mrs. Keehn is currently a clinical training director of an APPIC internship program and a pre- and post-doctoral psychology supervisor. She is also the managing partner of Lokahi Life Center, PLLC, in Dallas, Texas.

Katrina Lieben, MSN, CNM, received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Humboldt State University, California in 1997 and her Master's of Science in Nursing with a nurse midwifery focus from the Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing in 2008. She has worked with mothers and infants her entire career. Ms. Lieben practiced in Ketchikan, Alaska, for more than 10 years, and currently practices midwifery care in Ukiah, California.

Faculty Disclosure

Contributing faculty, Nicole F. Keehn, RN, MSN, PsyD, has disclosed no relevant financial relationship with any product manufacturer or service provider mentioned.

Contributing faculty, Katrina Lieben, MSN, CNM, has disclosed no relevant financial relationship with any product manufacturer or service provider mentioned.

Division Planner

Mary Franks, MSN, APRN, FNP-C

Division Planner Disclosure

The division planner has disclosed no relevant financial relationship with any product manufacturer or service provider mentioned.

Director of Development and Academic Affairs

Sarah Campbell

Director Disclosure Statement

The Director of Development and Academic Affairs has disclosed no relevant financial relationship with any product manufacturer or service provider mentioned.

About the Sponsor

The purpose of NetCE is to provide challenging curricula to assist healthcare professionals to raise their levels of expertise while fulfilling their continuing education requirements, thereby improving the quality of healthcare.

Our contributing faculty members have taken care to ensure that the information and recommendations are accurate and compatible with the standards generally accepted at the time of publication. The publisher disclaims any liability, loss or damage incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the contents. Participants are cautioned about the potential risk of using limited knowledge when integrating new techniques into practice.

Disclosure Statement

It is the policy of NetCE not to accept commercial support. Furthermore, commercial interests are prohibited from distributing or providing access to this activity to learners.

Technical Requirements

Supported browsers for Windows include Microsoft Internet Explorer 9.0 and up, Mozilla Firefox 3.0 and up, Opera 9.0 and up, and Google Chrome. Supported browsers for Macintosh include Safari, Mozilla Firefox 3.0 and up, Opera 9.0 and up, and Google Chrome. Other operating systems and browsers that include complete implementations of ECMAScript edition 3 and CSS 2.0 may work, but are not supported. Supported browsers must utilize the TLS encryption protocol v1.1 or v1.2 in order to connect to pages that require a secured HTTPS connection. TLS v1.0 is not supported.

Implicit Bias in Health Care

The role of implicit biases on healthcare outcomes has become a concern, as there is some evidence that implicit biases contribute to health disparities, professionals' attitudes toward and interactions with patients, quality of care, diagnoses, and treatment decisions. This may produce differences in help-seeking, diagnoses, and ultimately treatments and interventions. Implicit biases may also unwittingly produce professional behaviors, attitudes, and interactions that reduce patients' trust and comfort with their provider, leading to earlier termination of visits and/or reduced adherence and follow-up. Disadvantaged groups are marginalized in the healthcare system and vulnerable on multiple levels; health professionals' implicit biases can further exacerbate these existing disadvantages.

Interventions or strategies designed to reduce implicit bias may be categorized as change-based or control-based. Change-based interventions focus on reducing or changing cognitive associations underlying implicit biases. These interventions might include challenging stereotypes. Conversely, control-based interventions involve reducing the effects of the implicit bias on the individual's behaviors. These strategies include increasing awareness of biased thoughts and responses. The two types of interventions are not mutually exclusive and may be used synergistically.