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Simulation in midwifery education: Not just a passing trend

02 March 2017
Volume 25 · Issue 3


There is a long history of using simulated scenarios to train health practitioners, and the use of simulation-based learning has a great deal to offer in midwifery education, says Louise Yuill.

Within the last decade, simulation-based learning has become a key educational component in nursing and midwifery programmes to enhance clinical skills (Cooper et al, 2012). However, the concept of simulation is not new to the midwifery profession. As far back as the year 1700, Madame du Coudray, commissioned by King Louis XV, taught student midwives practical skills using a life-sized model made of fabric, bones and leather (Gelbart, 1998). Known for her revolutionary teaching techniques, she educated peasant women and male surgeons alike.

Many midwives are familiar with using manikins, torsos, dolls and pelvis to simulate abdominal palpation, neonatal resuscitation, breech and mechanisms of labour (Cooper et al, 2012). In more recent years, with advancements in technology, we as educators and clinicians now have the ability to work with high-fidelity manikins that physiologically respond to simulated interventions (Tyer-Viola et al, 2012; Deegan and Terry, 2013). Freeth et al (2009) consider that the use of this particular technology allows students to become fully immersed in the simulation. This enhances learning through interactive experiences emulating those the students would encounter in clinical practice. Within a university setting, we have seen first-hand how the use of such technology can facilitate a deeper understanding. Some recent student feedback following a simulation around postpartum haemorrhage included words and phrases such as ‘realistic’, ‘confidence’, ‘applied learning practically’, and ‘appreciated the realness as done in real-time’. Students also report that they feel the use of simulation better prepares them for clinical practice.

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