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Drama and Serious Gaming Combine to Support the Development of NHSScotland's Maternity Care Workforce


Midwives in NHSScotland are set to benefit from innovative approaches to learning and development through the use of serious computer gaming and visual software as well as participation in interactive drama.    These new approaches are being showcased to staff at events in Dundee, Glasgow and Inverness during March 2012.

Helene Marshall, Director of NHS Education for Scotland's (NES) Scottish Multiprofessional Maternity Development Programme, explained:  "Serious games are designed to solve a problem. Although serious games can be entertaining, their main purpose is to train.    They are also referred to as "game-learning".

"There is a considerable body of evidence to prove that regular play has a beneficial impact on spatial awareness and co-ordination. Customised and sophisticated simulation systems are already widely employed within medical training and are becoming an equally popular training and education tool for other healthcare specialties.

"Working with 3mrt, we are piloting this technology to help midwives maintain their skills to support existing training courses and we are planning to make the material available online in April.  This series of events will focus on issues around neo-natal resuscitation."

In addition, interactive drama will be used to demonstrate and celebrate the key role midwives play in public health and health promotion through the work they do everyday.  Midwives attending the events will watch actors play out a drama developed from stories given by midwives in clinical practice, describing their real life experiences of giving care to vulnerable women and families.

"Developed in collaboration with Forum Interactive, the stories introduce a couple facing difficult life struggles who discover that they are going to have a baby" explains Sandra Smith, an Educational Project Manager in NES.

"The various scenes set the context of the woman's relationship with her partner, her family circumstances, how she feels (and how her partner feels), about the pregnancy.  They establish some of the things that may or will get in the way of the mother's and baby's health and well-being."

Midwives who supplied stories on which the drama is based commented:  "now I feel I'm working together with women more and discussing things"

"Midwives are often unused to seeing their work in terms of public health.  However, everyone's knowledge develops in response to what their community needs and the resources that are available."

"I don't think we realise how skilled we are at that (Public Health) because we do it day in day out.  I think it's a fundamental part of our job."

Delegates will have the opportunity to interact with the storyline and respond to the scenes as they unfold encouraging conversations about supporting the couple which connect everyday practice to maternity policy.  The questions used to prompt the discussion are those which underpin the Getting it Right for Every Child practice model such as what's is getting in the way of this woman's or baby's well-being; do I have all the information I need to help and what can I do now; what can my service to do help and what help is needed from others?  Following the event, the drama will be made available as an online educational resource supported by guidance for its use across NHSScotland. 

Sandra Smith added:  "These events will support the aspirations set out in the Refreshed Framework for Maternity Care in Scotland and the principles of Getting It Right For Every Child.  They are an opportunity for midwives to celebrate the work they already do in supporting women and, in particular, vulnerable women, through pregnancy, childbirth and beyond.   They will also be able to consider the opportunities they have to make this contribution even stronger."


REF:  1110

Further information from:  Christine Patch, Head of Corporate Communications:  0131 313 8059 who will also be able to provide photographs of the events and links to the online material when available.

Notes to Editors

  1. NHS Education for Scotland is NHSScotland's national education and training Board.  We are responsible for supporting NHS services to the people of Scotland through the development and delivery of education and training for all those who work in NHSScotland
  2. The link to the Refreshed Framework follows: