Survey Shows How Leaders Can Improve Obstetric Emergency Training, Education
By Jonathan Springston, Editor, Relias Media
Some EMS practitioners admitted there are gaps in their obstetric emergency knowledge, but their responses also indicate possible opportunities to enhance and expand education and training in key areas.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) sent a 20-question survey to thousands of EMS workers, first responders, and critical care/flight paramedics. These groups were seeking to learn more about experiences responding to emergencies among pregnant and postpartum patients, along with areas for improvement in education and training.
Out of 1,702 responses, between 25% and 35% disagreed that they have undergone adequate training on or received sufficient information about the altered physiology of pregnant or postpartum patients nor managing emergencies among this population.
Digging deeper, respondents revealed more details about where there is a lack of proper training on common emergency situations. For example, on a list of 10 health issues, “acute hypertension in pregnancy or postpartum” was at the top (36.7% of respondents said they encountered this issue within the past year). However, 56.7% of respondents indicated they had received any education on this subject within the last three years; 58.7% said they would like more training on this topic.
“EMS initial education instructs students on prehospital maternal delivery and delivery complications but includes very little specific education on addressing postpartum patient complications,” NAEMT President Bruce Evans said in a statement. “The results of this survey indicate that continuing education on treating pregnant and postpartum patients in the prehospital environment is needed, including training for peripartum cardiomyopathy, acute myocardial infarction in pregnancy or postpartum, and venous thromboembolism.”
Generally, almost 70% of respondents appear unhappy with current resources to receive education on managing obstetric emergencies. However, there also appears to be a willingness to learn. For example, 77.8% and 74.7% of respondents are open to receiving more education about peripartum cardiomyopathy and acute myocardial infarction, respectively.
Beyond protecting patient health, it is vital for providers to be properly trained and educated on obstetric emergencies, as these cases, handled improperly, can lead to legal liability. Details on common emergencies specific to the second and third trimesters are available here, while a guide to managing postpartum emergencies is available here.