Simulation-enhanced nurse mentoring to improve preeclampsia and eclampsia care: an education intervention study in Bihar, India

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Background: Inadequately treated, preeclampsia and eclampsia (PE/E) may rapidly lead to severe complications in both mothers and neonates, and are estimated to cause 60,000 global maternal deaths annually. Simulation-based training on obstetric and neonatal emergency management has demonstrated promising results in low- and middle-income countries. However, the impact of simulation training on use of evidence-based practices for PE/E diagnosis and management in low-resource settings remains unknown.

Methods: This study was based on a statewide, high fidelity in-situ simulation training program developed by PRONTO International and implemented in collaboration with CARE India on PE/E management in Bihar, India. Using a mixed methods approach, we evaluated changes over time in nurse mentees’ use of evidence-based practices during simulated births at primary health clinics. We compared the proportion and efficiency of evidence-based practices completed during nurse mentees’ first and last participation in simulated PE/E cases. Twelve semi-structured interviews with nurse mentors explored barriers and enablers to high quality PE/E care in Bihar.

Results: A total of 39 matched first and last simulation videos, paired by facility, were analyzed. Videos occurred a median of 62 days apart and included 94 nurses from 33 primary health centers. Results showed significant increases in the median number of ‘key history questions asked,’ (1.0 to 2.0, p = 0.03) and ‘key management steps completed,’ (2.0 to 3.0, p = 0.03). The time from BP measured to magnesium sulfate given trended downwards by 3.2 min, though not significantly (p = 0.06). Key barriers to high quality PE/E care included knowledge gaps, resource shortages, staff hierarchy between physicians and nurses, and poor relationships with patients. Enablers included case-based and simulation learning, promotion of teamwork and communication, and effective leadership.

Conclusion: Simulation training improved the use of evidence-based practices in PE/E simulated cases and has the potential to increase nurse competency in diagnosing and managing complex maternal complications such as PE/E. However, knowledge gaps, resource limitations, and interpersonal barriers must be addressed in order to improve care. Teamwork, communication, and leadership are key mechanisms to facilitate high quality PE/E care in Bihar.

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