Background Non-technical skills for obstetricians play a vital role in adequate patient care and combine social and cognitive elements that are separate from the practical skills involved in obstetric care. Categories of non-technical skills for operative vaginal delivery have been postulated from healthcare professionals to provide a framework of good practise.
Aim of this study To validate the social non-technical skills defined by obstetricians and midwives.
Method Women who had an operative vaginal delivery of a term baby underwent a semi structured interview 6–8 weeks postnatal. The interview recordings were transcribed verbatim. Thematic coding of data was carried out. Consistency of interpretation was ascertained by two researchers. Data was analysed to compare and contrast the emerging themes to the elements and categories previously identified.
Results 16 interviews were transcribed and analysed for this study. Social categories of non-technical skills, namely professional relationship, behaviour, teamwork and communication, suggested by obstetricians and midwives were common themes from all participants. New themes emerged such as ‘importance of understanding preconception of what operative vaginal delivery would involve’.
Conclusion The non-technical skills developed by obstetricians and midwives in operative vaginal delivery have been validated by women. Furthermore new themes emerged that need to be embedded into the pre-existing categories. This validated framework of non technical skills is vital to ensure an operative vaginal delivery occurs in an environment that is positive and respects the unique event of a birth of a child. Additionally the framework can be used as a tool for training and feedback.
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