STAFF involved in maternity care at South Gippsland Hospital participated in an innovative and highly practical training session last week.
They came away from it thrilled to have taken part in a program which boosted and reinforced their already considerable skills, while the consultant midwife who ran the program said it was “fantastic to be part of such a collaborative and dynamic group of clinicians”.
The consultant midwife, Bree Bulle, was full of praise for the staff of South Gippsland Hospital, which prides itself on its shared care maternity health model – teams of doctors and midwives working together to ensure the best possible birth experience for mothers and their babies from the prenatal stage through to when the women return home to their families with their new babies.
The Maternity Services Education Program/Maternity Emergency Program funded by the Department of Health under the auspices of the Royal Women’s Hospital involved the local GP obstetricians and midwives working with a midwife, a midwife educator and an actress!
In several sessions over a day and a half, the doctors and nurses worked in multidisciplinary teams as various midwifery scenarios were acted out, the actress taking the part of the birthing mother.
“As midwifery emergencies were reconstructed, the staff had the chance to see what they do well and where they, perhaps, need improvement,” said Ms Bulle.
“The program was very well received and I found it a pleasure to work with such a dynamic team. You can see that the staff at South Gippsland Hospital work as a team and are very positive about their work.”
She singled out South Gippsland Hospital’s acting maternity manager/educator Lauren Staley, who coordinated the group’s visit, for special praise.
“Lauren did a lot of work to secure the program and ensure it ran smoothly,” she said.
As well as the maternity emergencies, staff also participated in other training modules, including one run by Ambulance Victoria and another on pathology.
This was the first time the very clinically focussed Maternity Services Education Program has been run at Foster, though the Royal Women’s Hospital has been running the on-site program for five years at hospitals all over Victoria.
“We will be in touch for an evaluation – to see what knowledge they have picked up,” said Ms Bulle.
“Every single one of us found the program overwhelmingingly useful,” said Lauren Staley. “Even those staff who were initially a little hesitant about participating. It built up people’s confidences wonderfully and updated our skills – which we do regularly as a matter of course – but this was in a fun way. It was an excellent way to identify risks and determine the strategies to eliminate them.”
The entire maternity team, which is made up of the GPs Phil Worboys, David Iser and David Polmear, and fifteen midwives, participated in the training session. They took turns acting out roles in true-to-life birthing scenarios – some participated while their colleagues watched. These were filmed so the staff could watch them later.
“With two midwives and an obstetrician working with an actress as the birthing mother, the scenarios were made very lifelike. It was a good way of testing our system. We learnt how even minor details can be changed and the whole birthing experience will be made better,” said Ms Staley.
“Fantastic!” is how she summed up the training session, which ran all day Thursday and for half of Friday. “It is up to us to now take on what we have learnt, but it will definitely have enhanced what we know and how we work as a team. We will make any changes we consider necessary. I definitely think we should have sessions like this more often.”