A team of midwifery experts led by Monash academic Dr Simon Cooper has won a research grant of more than $51,000 to study how student midwives identify and respond to deterioration in the health of women and infants in maternity settings.
Dr Cooper said that the health of women and infants can deteriorate (sometimes un-noticed) in hospital or maternity wards, often while inexperienced midwives are providing care.
“We do not fully understand how inexperienced clinicians make decisions about patient management, but awareness of the situation appears to play an important role.”
The project will use simulation to examine the knowledge, clinical skills and situation awareness of student midwives when the health of mothers and babies begins to deteriorate.
“Simulation training has been shown to improve knowledge and clinical skills in labour room staff; however, the ability of staff to identify and manage deterioration in the ante/post-natal woman and newly born infant has not been closely examined,” Dr Cooper said.
The aim is to develop and implement an innovative and sustainable training program to improve the clinical performance of inexperienced midwives and patient safety.
The research team also includes Monash academics Mary Anne Biro, Maureen Miles, Jan Jones and Leigh Kinsman as well as Ruth Endacott from Plymouth University; Julie Scholes from Brighton University; Bree Bulle, consultant midwife at The Royal Women's Hospital; and Glyn Teale, obstetrician at Golburn Valley Health.
Funding is provided by Equity Trustees.