Competencies and skills for remote and rural maternity care: a review of the literature.
ABSTRACT This paper reports a review of the literature on skills, competencies and continuing professional development necessary for sustainable remote and rural maternity care.
There is a general sense that maternity care providers in rural areas need specific skills and competencies. However, how these differ from generic skills and competencies is often unclear.
Approaches used to access the research studies included a comprehensive search in relevant electronic databases using relevant keywords (e.g. 'remote', 'midwifery', 'obstetrics', 'nurse-midwives', education', 'hospitals', 'skills', 'competencies', etc.). Experts were approached for (un-)published literature, and books and journals known to the authors were also used. Key journals were hand searched and references were followed up. The original search was conducted in 2004 and updated in 2006.
Little published literature exists on professional education, training or continuous professional development in maternity care in remote and rural settings. Although we found a large literature on competency, little was specific to competencies for rural practice or for maternity care. 'Hands-on' skills courses such as Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics and the Neonatal Resuscitation Programme increase confidence in practice, but no published evidence of effectiveness of such courses exists.
Educators need to be aware of the barriers facing rural practitioners, and there is potential for increasing distant learning facilitated by videoconferencing or Internet access. They should also consider other assessment methods than portfolios. More research is needed on the levels of skills and competencies required for maternity care professionals practising in remote and rural areas.
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ABSTRACT: Nurses and midwives continue to make up the largest proportion of the health workforce. As a result, shortages of nurses and midwives have a significant impact on the delivery of effective health care. Shortages of nurses and midwives are known to be more pronounced in rural and remote areas where recruitment and retention remain problematic. However, rural nurses are often required to be multi-skilled, which has led to expectations that nurses who are also midwives, are required to work across areas of the hospital to help to address shortages. For midwives this issue is even more problematic as they may actually end up spending a very small percentage of their working day involved in the delivery of maternity care. This workforce strategy has the potential to seriously erode the skills of the midwives. Situations such as this are implicated in attrition of midwives because of the role stress that results when they are required to work in models of care where they experience the constant pull to work between departments and across roles. This paper addresses the requirement for midwives in some rural facilities to work across roles of general nurse and midwife and outlines the issues that arise as a result. In particular, the paper links the concepts of Role Theory to the requirement for midwives to work in dual roles and the potential for role stress to develop.Collegian Journal of the Royal College of Nursing Australia 01/2011; 18(3):107-13. · 0.73 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Decisions in the organization of safe and effective rural maternity care are complex, difficult, value laden and fraught with uncertainty, and must often be based on imperfect information. Decision analysis offers tools for addressing these complexities in order to help decision-makers determine the best use of resources and to appreciate the downstream effects of their decisions. To develop a maternity care decision-making tool for the British Columbia Northern Health Authority (NH) for use in low birth volume settings. Based on interviews with community members, providers, recipients and decision-makers, and employing a formal decision analysis approach, we sought to clarify the influences affecting rural maternity care and develop a process to generate a set of value-focused objectives for use in designing and evaluating rural maternity care alternatives. Four low-volume communities with variable resources (with and without on-site births, with or without caesarean section capability) were chosen. Participants: Physicians (20), nurses (18), midwives and maternity support service providers (4), local business leaders, economic development officials and elected officials (12), First Nations (women [pregnant and non-pregnant], chiefs and band members) (40), social workers (3), pregnant women (2) and NH decision-makers/administrators (17). We developed a Decision Support Manual to assist with assessing community needs and values, context for decision-making, capacity of the health authority or healthcare providers, identification of key objectives for decision-making, developing alternatives for care, and a process for making trade-offs and balancing multiple objectives. The manual was deemed an effective tool for the purpose by the client, NH. Beyond assisting the decision-making process itself, the methodology provides a transparent communication tool to assist in making difficult decisions. While the manual was specifically intended to deal with rural maternity issues, the NH decision-makers feel the method can be easily adapted to assist decision-making in other contexts in medicine where there are conflicting objectives, values and opinions. Decisions on the location of new facilities or infrastructure, or enhancing or altering services such as surgical or palliative care, would be examples of complex decisions that might benefit from this methodology.Healthcare policy = Politiques de sante 02/2010; 5(3):82-96.
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ABSTRACT: To explore and understand what it means to provide midwifery care in remote and rural Scotland. Qualitative interviews with 72 staff from 10 maternity units, analysed via a case study approach. Remote and rural areas of Scotland. Predominantly midwives, with some additional interviews with paramedics, general surgeons, anaesthetists and GPs. Remote and rural maternity care includes a range of settings and models of care. However, the impact of rural geographies on decision-making and risk assessment is common to all settings. Making decisions and dealing with the implications of these decisions is, in many cases, done without onsite specialist support. This has implications for the skills and competencies that are needed to practice midwifery in remote and rural settings. Whereas most rural midwives reported that their skills in risk assessment and decisions to transfer were well developed and appropriate to practising in their particular settings, they perceived these decisions to be under scrutiny by urban-based colleagues and felt the need to stress their competence in the face of what they imagined to be stereotypes of rural incompetence. This study shows that skills in risk assessment and decision-making are central to high quality remote and rural midwifery care. However, linked to different perspectives on care, there is a risk that these skills can be undermined by contact with colleagues in large urban units, particularly when staff do not know each other well. There is a need to develop a professional understanding between midwives in different locations. It is important for the good working relationships between urban and rural maternity units that all midwives understand the importance of contextual knowledge in both decisions to transfer from rural locations and the position of midwives in receiving units. Multiprofessional CPD courses have been effective in bringing together teams around obstetric emergencies; we suggest that a similar format may be required in considering issues of transfer.Midwifery 01/2011; 27(3):301-7. · 1.12 Impact Factor