Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Nursing (Hons.)


School of Nursing


Western Australian College of Advanced Education

First Advisor

David Shorten


Since body temperature is a reflection of neonatal wellbeing, taking and recording an accurate temperature is an important nursing role. Research has shown that axillary temperature adequately reflects core body temperature and is the recommended site for neonates. However, researchers have been unable to agree on the length of thermometer placement time to record an accurate axillary temperature. The purpose of this study was to determine the optimal thermometer placement time to record the maximum axillary temperature in newborn infants using a descriptive correlational design. Axillary temperatures were taken using a convenience sample of 100 healthy, term neonates between 38 and 42 weeks gestation, weighing greater than 2500 grams and who had been uncompromised during delivery. The same mercury in glass thermometer, which had been tested for accuracy, was held in the axilla of each neonate. Recordings were taken every minute until the mercury in the thermometer had been stable for 5 minutes. Data analysis revealed that in 901 of subjects the thermometer stabilised in 6 minutes. Other data recorded were gestational age, birthweight, type of delivery, age in hours, number of extra blankets, sex and time of data collection. These variables were analysed in conjunction with the time for ther1110meter stabilisation to detect any significant relationship. Significance level was set at α=.05. No significant relationships were detected between thermometer stabilisation time and the extraneous variables. The results of this study indicate that the optimal thermometer placement time for recording an accurate axillary temperature in a healthy, term neonatal is 6 minutes.