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Obstetric emergencies: Enhancing the multidisciplinary team through simulation

02 February 2018
15 min read
Volume 26 · Issue 2



The multidisciplinary team facilitated simulation sessions that took place within a local Trust during a study day called ‘Managing the sick obstetric patient’ and during annual training of maternity staff.


To discuss and analyse the importance of the using the multidisciplinary team during high fidelity simulation. The aim was to review how effective the staff thought the simulation was in supporting them to enhance their skills working as a team.


Following the simulation session with the multidisciplinary team, a feedback sheet in the form of a questionnaire was given to all participants of the study day to evaluate its effectiveness. The themes were then derived from the data for analysis.


The main themes that were highlighted were: ‘improved team working’, ‘realism’, and ‘helpful refresher’. There were also three sub-themes that emerged from data collection: ‘feedback was practical and efficient’, ‘increased confidence and communication skills’, and ‘could be made more realistic’.


High fidelity simulation plays a major role in training and assessing the competence of staff. Staff valued the simulation and reported that they achieved increased confidence and communication skills as a result of participating.

This article will discuss the use of high fidelity simulation in Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust in the north west of England. High fidelity simulation is used in the Trust for a few different purposes: during the biannual study day on ‘Managing the sick obstetric patient’, for live skills and drills on the maternity wards, and during the annual emergency training, which is incorporated into the mandatory training of staff. Each of these occasions includes the multidisciplinary team.

Simulation-based training was initially introduced to improve patient safety, addressing the factors surrounding substandard care during clinical incidents, while reducing clinical litigation (Fransen et al, 2012; National Patient Safety Agency, 2013). Lathrop et al (2007) suggest that poor teamwork is the cause of many critical incidents in health settings, and having a simulated learning environment where no harm can be caused is crucial in building experience and enhancing competence and confidence. Maternal death in the UK has been linked with poor standards of care and a lack of training to recognise acute emergencies or the ‘sick obstetric patient’, including failure to start treatment promptly (Manktelow et al, 2017). Simulation is proven to reduce clinical risk (Thompson et al, 2004) and results in enhanced teamwork and team performance (Fransen et al, 2012). As the National Maternity Review (NHS England, 2016), clearly states that ‘those who work together should train together’, simulation plays an important role in both undergraduate midwifery education and continuing professional development. Simulation therefore has a role to play in training staff to deal with emergencies effectively with a view to avoid and reduce maternal mortality and morbidity in the UK.

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