6 Keys to Sustaining a Successful Simulation Training Program for Maternity Care

| Roxanne Blanford

Simulation-based training for obstetric emergencies, such as cardiac arrest during delivery, can improve team communication and interaction as well as the knowledge and confidence of individual learners. 

Simulation training can facilitate a well-coordinated rapid response during critical moments for mother and baby.

In 2011, physician educators from Portugal, the United States, and the United Kingdom reviewed simulation-based maternity training programs in their countries to find common threads among those that remained successful over the years. Their review, “Sustaining simulation training programmes – experience from maternity care” was published in BJOG, an international journal of obstetrics and gynecology.

Prof. Diogo Ayres-de-Campos, Dr. Shad Deering and Dr. Dimitrios Siassakos discovered that sustainable maternal simulation programs all possessed the following six key elements: 

  1. Clear institutional level commitment to the course – often motivated by financial incentives (such as lower insurance premiums), institutional commitment helps overcome barriers like staff resistance
  2. Strong leadership in course organization – from carefully planned scenarios that relate to clinical practice to the effective use of simulators, the leadership supports the vision and addresses everyday operational challenges
  3. Curriculum relevant to clinical practice – the curriculum needs to be well-organized, relevant to practice and to follow evidence-based, national or international guidelines
  4. A non-threatening learning environment – a constructive, non-judgmental process (especially during debrief) is essential to full participation and the growth of individuals and teams
  5. Multi-professional training – involving physicians, nurses, and anesthesiologists is the only way for teams to address communication, patient management and their respective roles
  6. Simulators appropriate to learning objectives – While a high-fidelity manikin is ideal for practice of cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, a patient actor may also be suited to practice patient-physician communication


To learn more, read the full maternity care simulation study.

Practice obstetrical emergencies with the CAE Lucina childbirth simulator. 



Ayres-de-Campos, D., Deering, S. and Siassakos, D. Sustaining simulation training programmes – experience from maternity care. BJOG 2011;118 (Suppl. 3) 22–26.

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