PLoS One. 2022 Nov 17;17(11):e0277496. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0277496. eCollection 2022.
INTRODUCTION: Obstetricians describe feeling shocked and isolated following stillbirth. Few receive adequate training in how to care for bereaved parents or themselves. We developed a novel workshop for trainee obstetricians using applied drama techniques-in collaboration with the National Theatre of Ireland, the national training body for obstetricians and gynaecologists, and patient support groups-to teach obstetricians skills in communication and self-care around the time of stillbirth.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Five workshops, delivered January-May 2018, are the focus of this evaluation. Senior trainees in Obstetrics attended and completed a post-workshop evaluation questionnaire. Five-point Likert scales were used to assess participants’ communication and support skills pre- and post- the workshop, and their views on pre-specified attributes needed when caring for families experiencing stillbirth and aspects of the workshop. Quantitative and qualitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics and content analysis, respectively.
RESULTS: 39/59 (66%) workshop participants completed the questionnaires. Most had received no prior training in caring for families experiencing antenatal (31/39, 80%) or intrapartum (34/39, 87%) stillbirth. Following the workshop there was a significant improvement in trainee’s level of confidence in breaking bad news, communicating clearly with the family when breaking bad news, recognising the emotional needs of the family, recognising their own emotional responses, and supporting their colleagues. Trainees were positive about the workshop content and delivery; 90% stated they would recommend it to a colleague.
DISCUSSION: Adequate, appropriate, and stimulating education and training in stillbirth care and self-care is clearly needed to improve patient care. Our findings demonstrate that this novel educational workshop using applied drama techniques-developed in collaboration with diverse stakeholders and underpinned by the views of parents and obstetricians who had experience of stillbirth-is an acceptable and appropriate way of training obstetricians in how to care for bereaved parents and/or to engage in self-care.