Mrs Jayne Wagstaff – improving training for midwives

This study aims to improve the training midwives are given so that they can better help women make informed screening decisions.

Researchers at the University of Leeds hope to improve training around screening tests for midwifes 

In England, all pregnant women have the option of a screening test to help identify the chance of having a baby with Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome or Patau’s syndrome. Midwives provide information about this during the first antenatal appointment, and support women to make an informed personal decision.

Midwives want to be sure that they are giving women all the information they need to help them decide whether or not to have antenatal screening.

There is a need to improve the way in which midwife training is delivered to improve the communication between women and midwives about screening tests.

This study aims to improve the training midwives are given so that they can better help women make informed screening decisions.

Mrs Jayne Wagstaff, University of Leeds, will record antenatal appointments to understand how midwives and women talk about antenatal screening tests in ‘real life’.

She said: “We think women want to talk about screening tests in different ways and some want more, or different, information than others. The recordings will be studied by researchers to find out what different women want and how midwives can help them.”

 Conversation Analytic Role-play Method
This study will explore whether Conversation Analytic Role-play Method (CARM) could help midwives more effectively support women in their decision-making around antenatal screening. CARM training uses real-life recordings to understand how conversations lead in particular directions, and helps identify difficulties and techniques to overcome them, leading to greater satisfaction in both parties.

CARM has been delivered to staff across a range of professions including mediation services, the police, and doctors based within neonatal units. In a training environment, professionals are taken through the development of actual service encounters, stopping to discuss communication practice, possible outcomes and potential improvements.

The findings of this research has the potential to influence training received by all midwives within England, and may lead to increased satisfaction from women making antenatal screening decisions.

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