Emergency scenarios in maternity: An exploratory study of a midwifery and medical student simulation-based learning collaboration

By Burns ES, Duff M, Leggett J, et al, Women and Birth, 22 October 2020, online ahead of print. on 22 March 2021

Background and problem 

In Australia, interprofessional education has been embedded into pre-registration course accreditation standards. Little is known about Australian midwifery and medical students experiences of interprofessional learning when the focus is on emergency scenarios during birth.


This study aimed to evaluate student experience of Interprofessional Simulation-Based Learning workshops focused on emergency scenarios with midwifery and medical students.


This was a descriptive, exploratory study of an educational activity designed to enhance inter-professional and collaborative learning between Bachelor of Midwifery students and Bachelor of Medicine students at a Simulation Centre in Sydney, Australia. A pre and post survey design enabled data collection before and after the 6-h simulation-based workshop.


A total of 45 students attended two interprofessional simulation learning days, 14 were midwifery students and 31 medical students. Students disclosed a level of apprehension in the pre workshop survey and ambivalence towards the values of collaborative simulation-based learning. Following the workshop students reported that the workshop enhanced their ability to work collaboratively in practice. Both student cohorts commented on a perceived power imbalance and a sense of each profession having to 'prove' their knowledge levels. Students stated that learning to work together in a safe environment allowed them to develop an appreciation for each other's scope of practice and responsibilities in an emergency situation.


This form of collaborative learning has the potential to improve new graduate experience in the workplace, especially during emergency situations, and ultimately improve care for women and babies.

Find out more about the research here.

Find out more about RCM and RCOG's One Voice Partnership on multi-disciplinary working here.

Further reference 

Virtual Reality Learning Environments — reconfiguring clinical practice situated in health care education, Denyse King, MIDIRS Midwifery Digest, March 2021, volume 31, number 1. Subscribe to MIDIRS to receive MIDIRS Midwifery Digest for more articles like this here.

Literature search pack 

M88 - Simulation-based training | (422 records)

This search pack features information on the use of simulation in midwifery and obstetric training. Includes information on simulated clinical situations, including crisis scenarios, use of mannequins, birth simulators and computer-based models.

Excludes information on general teaching and learning methods (M36).

Order this literature search pack and more here.