Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

LaVonne Fox


Infant, Premature; Infant Care -- methods; Nurseries, Hospitals; Occupational Therapy -- education


In 2004 there were 790 infants born prematurely in Wyoming (Freudenthal, 2006). Currently, the highest level of infant care available in Wyoming is a Level II nursery. In Wyoming, infants born prematurely with special medical needs are typically transported to specialized NICU's in surrounding states. The limited contact that medical staff, including occupational therapists (OT's), in rural facilities have with critically or moderately ill infants creates a lack of competency with the unique medical care needs of the infants. According to Gordon (2003) "nearly half of America's babies start out their lives in a rural community" (p. 3). Furthermore, research indicates that the provision of care in rural areas is substandard to care in urban/suburban areas due to lack of adequate training and resources secondary to a lower population of infants born prematurely. Gordon (2003) also indicated that "such deficiencies in training have less impact in urban and suburban areas, which have seen a proliferation of level II units. Outcomes of infants born in suburban areas are superior to those of neonates born in rural locations" (p 3). Research supported a need for a resource guide for OT's who provide care to infants born prematurely in Level II nurseries in rural areas.

The development of the resource guide is based on an extensive literature review; guided visits to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and a rural Level II nursery; personal experience in NICU and rural Level II nursery environments; and discussions with medical professionals within both settings. The authors were able to identify the areas of need to be included within the product portion of the scholarly project. Knowles' Theory of Andragogy was used in the development of the resource guide.

Based on the results from the literature review, it was found that OT's possess a need for resource guide to be utilized while caring for infants born prematurely in a rural Level II nursery. Further findings from the literature indicated that the needs ofthe infant, parent, and therapist require equal consideration in order for care to be most effective (American Occupational Therapy Association, 2006). The specific needs of the infant, parent, and therapist identified within the literature where addressed within the product portion of the scholarly project. Bright Beginnings: Quick Tips/or Occupational Therapists in the Level II Nursery is intended to be used by the OT throughout the evaluation and treatment process of the infant born prematurely.