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Evaluating the contribution of interdisciplinary obstetrics skills and drills emergency training

02 March 2019
Volume 27 · Issue 3



High-fidelity simulation is integral to health professional training. The effect of interdisciplinary training on levels of confidence in obstetric emergencies is less well explored.


To evaluate the impact of a multidisciplinary training project in obstetric emergency skills and drills on the confidence of staff.


A mixed-methods approach was used to evaluate the self-reported confidence levels of obstetrics staff. A total of 69 staff voluntarily attended emergency skills and drills training with a birthing simulator manikin. The programme used four emergency scenarios that had potential for poor maternal outcomes. A debrief followed each scenario and confidence levels were self-reported before and after each training session.


There were significant (P<0.05) effects on teams' self-perceived confidence levels. Staff reported that training improved their knowledge and understanding of interdisciplinary roles, and improved capacity within and between professional disciplines.


This model is of significant use in interdisciplinary obstetric emergency care training. Training had a direct effect on the staff's perceived confidence and encouraged critical reflection on professional practice in emergency obstetrics.

Variation in the quality of maternal health and perinatal care provision was highlighted by the Government's initiative to reduce the stillbirth and neonatal death rate by 50% by 2025 and 20% by 2020 (Department of Health, 2017). While a consistent decrease in these mortality rates has been evident over time, a similar decrease was not seen in City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Trust. Research (Knight, 2016) identified that emergency obstetric practices could be targeted for intervention, and therefore, identifying areas for quality improvement in standards of emergency obstetric practice and implementing a robust training programme in collaboration with City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Trust became key priorities.

The issues surrounding the effective management of conditions such as eclampsia and pre-eclampsia are well known (Mol et al, 2015). In the context of risk and human factors analysis, further investigation into how interdisciplinary emergency skills and drills training affects collaborative working in obstetrics was needed. Clinical simulation has provided a way of showing improvements in obstetric care, with core educational principles adopted in the form of human factors training, guided by professional curricula (Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), 2018). This has been highlighted in several reports (Freedman et al, 2015; National Maternity Review, 2016).

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