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    Preparing to Provide Critical Care Support in Obstetrics

    Preparing to Provide Critical Care Support in Obstetrics

    Photo By Bernard Little | High-fidelity patient simulators, or medical mannequins with life-like capabilities,...... read more read more



    Story by Bernard Little 

    Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

    Walter Reed Bethesda hosted the Society of Critical Care Medicine, Fundamentals of Critical Care Support Obstetrics course Oct. 26, making it first Defense Health Agency organization to host training, according to Richard Duggan, program coordinator in the Directorate of Education, Training and Research at the medical center.
    Six nurses from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center’s Labor and Delivery unit completed the two-day course, which included classroom presentations as well as hands-on training in the state-of-the-art simulation center at WRNMMC.
    The course is designed to equip participants with the knowledge and skills to respond to critical care events that can impact expectant mothers and newborns. Dr. Logan Peterson, a physician in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at WRNMMC and lead instructor for the course, said the course provides a multi-disciplinary look at obstetrics and critical care.
    “Many of our patients have the potential to become very sick, and caring for obstetrics patients is somewhat different than caring for a non-pregnant patient,” Peterson said. He explained there are many physiological changes in a woman’s body during pregnancy, and providers are actually taking care of two patients.
    “The more we can expose our staff, our nurses, our physicians, our residents, our techs and corpsmen to obstetrics patients, the better they are going to become providing care for these patients, and the better we’re going to work together as we take care of these potentially very sick patients. So the idea of this course is to develop a familiarization [among staff] with some illnesses and surgical events that can occur during pregnancy that will require critical care,” Peterson added.
    Duggan agreed, adding the course provides information covering changes during pregnancy, risk factors for high-risk pregnancies, delivery, resuscitation of neonatal infants, and what to do in case of an emergency to ensure the best outcome for the mother and newborn.
    “We cover a variety of illnesses and situations from preeclampsia, eclampsia and postpartum hemorrhage, to surgical issues like appendicitis, colitis, pancreatitis, and trauma in pregnancy,” Peterson furthered. He also explained that the course identifies the biological changes that may predispose pregnant women to thromboembolic disorders, and the training provides instructions on recognizing and responding to women experiencing a thromboembolic event.
    Although only nurses attended the first offering of the course, Peterson said any health-care professional who may provide care to an obstetric patient or newborn can benefit by taking the course. “The course can be applicable to a large variety of people, including obstetrics and non-obstetrics physicians, nurses, techs, corpsmen and others,” he added.
    Beth Keaton, one of the labor and delivery nurses who completed the course, said, “We have a lot of high-risk patients here, and we see a lot of things here that I personally have not seen in other hospitals, and I have been doing labor and delivery a long time. Being in this setting, I thought it would be a good course to have because of our population.”
    She added the course helped her think outside of the box and beyond what she does every day, preparing her if a critical situation arises while she’s on duty.
    Robyn Daniel, another labor and delivery nurse who completed the course, agreed, adding she found the hands-on scenarios most beneficial in enhancing her knowledge and skills.
    During the hands-on scenarios, the course participants were able to describe and demonstrate what they would do during emergency situations, including high-risk deliveries with distressed newborns, while working on high-fidelity patient simulators in the simulation center. The simulators, or medical mannequins with life-like capabilities, added realism to the scenarios, as they were programmed perform real-world critical care and emergency behaviors and events.
    All of the nurses echoed Jackie Kuchta, also a labor and delivery nurse who completed the course, who said, “I’m always trying to improve my practice.”
    “I appreciated how the course emphasized ensuring the best outcome for the patients,” added Kathi Heidemann, another nurse who completed course.
    Peterson said the course is scheduled to be held twice a year, depending on demand, and people interested in enrolling can contact Richard Duggan at



    Date Taken: 11.02.2021
    Date Posted: 11.02.2021 15:47
    Story ID: 408553
    Location: BETHESDA, MD, US 

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