Teamworking is an essential component of the care of a woman in labour. Effective teamworking leads to improved patient safety – teams that work well add up to more than the sum of their parts in terms of safety – whereas teams not working well multiply the possibility of error.
Maternity care teams are complex. The labour ward team:
- will comprise of individuals from differing professional backgrounds and with differing skills
- can change during the course of labour, both over time and location
- includes caregivers in direct contact with the labouring woman, as well as the wider support team outside the delivery room
- must be able to switch from routine care to dealing with unexpected emergencies rapidly
- often will not be based on personal relationships and needs to be forged with each new combination of staff on duty for the shift.
A team can be defined simply as ‘a group of individuals who are working through collective endeavour toward a common goal’. On a labour ward the team objective would usually seem quite straightforward: to provide safe, high-quality care for the woman and baby. However, achieving effective teamworking can be challenging. This tutorial will introduce some strategies and structures which support an effective labour ward team and is intended to cover the knowledge of advanced trainees completing the Labour Ward Lead ATSM.
When you have completed this tutorial you will be able to:
- recognise effective teamworking and why this is essential for high-quality care on the labour ward
- understand strategies to encourage teams to work effectively on the labour ward
- discuss the role of multiprofessional emergency skills training
- coordinate multiprofessional patient care meetings
- understand the role of the labour ward forum.
Launched January 2019.