Paramedic training program improving maternity care in the community

More than 200 paramedics have boosted their skills in delivering emergency maternity care in the community, after completing a maternity training program developed by Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District (NBMLHD) and NSW Ambulance.

The program pairs paramedics with midwives for a full day’s placement at Nepean Hospital’s Birth Unit to support paramedics to manage out-of-hospital birthing and maternal emergencies, by offering interprofessional education and clinical placement support.

A typical day of activities in the program sees paramedics assist in all types of birth scenarios, including vaginal births (including water births) and emergency caesareans, as well as how to provide care during obstetric emergencies such as shoulder dystocia.

Nepean Hospital Divisional Manager of Women and Children’s Health and midwife, Kerry Tosswill, said the program is a great opportunity for these two highly skilled professional groups to come together to learn and share knowledge to improve patient care.

“For midwives, provision of labour and birth care are day to day experiences, but paramedics experience labour and birth less often in the community. When they do, the births are often unexpected and may sometimes be emergencies,” Ms Tosswill said.

“The training program enables paramedics to provide care throughout labour, birth and early postnatal period. Midwives are able to share their expert knowledge to help paramedics further develop their skills to provide care during birth in the community, and this includes in the event of an obstetric emergency.

NSW Ambulance Chief Executive Dr Dominic Morgan said this partnership with Nepean Hospital will further optimise maternity care in the local community.

“This is a great example of highly skilled paramedics working collaboratively with hospital maternity clinicians to share their skills and knowledge to provide the best possible care to women and their babies,” Dr Morgan said.

NSW Ambulance Paramedic, Tim Timmer, has completed the training program and already applied skills learnt from his experience working with the hospital midwives.

“You develop a heightened confidence and when you apply that out in the field you can systematically go step by step knowing that you’ve seen this before, you know what happens next and this is what I need to do,” Tim said.