Study examines paramedic care of childbirth - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Study examines paramedic care of childbirth

3 Mar 2016

A University of the Sunshine Coast academic who has been a midwife for five years and paramedic/nurse for 22 years is researching the experiences of Queensland women who required an ambulance at the time of giving birth to their babies.

Lecturer Belinda Flanagan, who coordinates USC’s popular Bachelor of Paramedic Science, has analysed more than 5,700 unidentified patient records provided by the Queensland Ambulance Service for her PhD research.

She is now interviewing mothers who birthed their babies in paramedic care or just prior to an ambulance arriving.

“I want to provide information that will inform paramedic guidelines, enhance elements of paramedic curriculum design and enhance in-service education delivered to existing paramedics, both nationally and internationally,” Ms Flanagan said.

The Landsborough resident said her PhD was prompted by her extensive practice as a registered midwife/nurse and advanced care paramedic.

“As a midwife, I understand the complexity of some of these cases and I appreciate both the physical and emotional needs of both the mother and baby,” she said. “I want this research to positively influence paramedic practice and patient outcomes.”

Statistics showed more than 400 planned hospital births occurred prior to arrival at hospital each year in Queensland. More than 75 percent of these involved paramedics.

“I’m exploring the needs of labouring and birthing women in paramedic care and will try to identify the factors relating to the need for paramedic attendance and what factors complicate paramedic clinical management,” she said.

Ms Flanagan recently collaborated with the QAS to review existing obstetric guidelines and produce online education packages sent to more than 2,500 ambulance officers across the state in December.

Mothers who have birthed their babies in paramedic care over the past five years in Queensland and who would like to participate in an interview with Ms Flanagan can email BFlanaga@usc.edu.au.

— Julie Schomberg

Lecturer in Paramedic Science Belinda Flanagan at USC’s Paramedic Science simulation facility.

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