The AWHONN Near-Term Infant Initiative: A Conceptual Framework for Optimizing Health for Near-Term Infants


  • Barbara Medoff-Cooper,

    Corresponding author
    1. Barbara Medoff-Cooper, PhD, FAAN, is a professor of nursing at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
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  • Susan Bakewell-Sachs,

    1. Susan Bakewell-Sachs, PhD, RN, APRN, BC, is the dean and professor in the College of New Jersey School of Nursing, Ewing, New Jersey.
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  • Madge E. Buus-Frank,

    1. Madge E. Buus-Frank, RNC, MS, ARNP, is a neonatal nurse practitioner at The Children's Hospital at Dartmouth, and an instructor in pediatrics at Dartmouth Medical School, Lebanon, New Hampshire.
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  • Anne Santa-Donato

    1. Anne Santa-Donato, RNC, MSN, is the associate director of childbearing and newborn programs, Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, Washington, D.C.
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Address for correspondence: Barbara Medoff-Cooper, University of Pennsylvania, 334 Kent Road, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004-2834. E-mail:


In June 2005, the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses launched a multiyear initiative to address the unique physiologic and developmental needs of near-term infants (NTIs) defined as those born between 34 and 37 weeks post-menstrual age. The Optimizing Care for the Near-Term Infant Conceptual Model integrates the concepts of neonatal physiologic functional status, nursing care practices, care environment, and the essential role of the family both in the hospital and beyond. The elements of the model will serve to guide program and resource development within the Near-Term Infant Initiative. Goals of the initiative are to raise awareness of the NTI population's unique needs, emphasize the need for research, encourage development and adoption of evidence-based guidelines to promote safe care, and provide resources that assist nurses and other health care professionals in risk-based assessment of NTIs.