Simulation to Improve Competencies and Improve Outcomes
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Women in the United States are more likely to die during childbirth or from pregnancy-related causes than women in any other developed country.1 In fact, 700 women die each year in the U.S. as a result of pregnancy and delivery complications.2 And, over 60% of these deaths are preventable.3
The most common factors contributing to a new mother’s death are:4
Each maternal death is a tear in the community fabric – a child without a mother, parents without a daughter, and partners without their other half.
Also, just as a woman’s age and lifestyle can affect her ability to get pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy, they can also influence how smoothly the delivery goes. For example, even though smoking has decreased overall, 1 out of every 14 women in the United States still smokes during their pregnancy.5 This can lead to birth defects, and can cause a baby to be born too early or to have a low birth weight – all of which put the mother and baby at risk. The lack of proper prenatal care can ultimately exacerbate a high-risk pregnancy and leave both patients vulnerable during the delivery.
In the U.S., approximately 25% of women do not receive any prenatal care in the first trimester.6 When a woman begins to receive prenatal care is largely affected by her race, ethnicity, economic status, and level of maternal education.7 This delay or altogether lack of prenatal care can directly translate into a need for emergency care.
Simulation training can better prepare healthcare professionals to react if and when an obstetric emergency occurs.8 One study found that simulation-based training for eclampsia management improved knowledge, performance, and confidence levels.9 This type of training can be particularly beneficial for obstetricians and labor and delivery nurses to fine-tune their teamwork skills in an emergency. A separate study found that simulation training for interdisciplinary team members improved inter-team communication as well as the communication with the family during actual deliveries.10
Training for a delivery is essential for a team of healthcare professionals because, unlike other medical arenas, there are two (or sometimes more) patients to monitor closely and simultaneously. Any decline in the mother’s health will impact the baby – and vice versa. Simulation can help to prepare learners to manage a safe delivery and reduce the risk of maternal and infant mortality.
Read the next article in this series to learn how certain risk factors can also play into post-natal simulation scenarios.
* McGowan, K. (2018). See reference #3.
After giving birth, women undergo many physical, emotional, and lifestyle changes. In this article, we discuss how healthcare providers can use simulation to improve the care they give to new mothers and newborn babies.
In this article series, we explore how simulation can help prepare healthcare providers for all stages of the continuum of care, from pre-pregnancy to the post-natal period.
Women’s health and lifestyle decisions have a direct impact on their health and their chances of carrying a healthy pregnancy. This article discusses how sharing facts about today’s women’s health with your learners can lead to a more rich simulation experience.