The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine's Class of 2018 jumped into its clinical years earlier this summer with an introduction into the challenges of labor and delivery through the Basic Life Support in Obstetrics course.
The course is designed to equip students with the skills needed to assist in normal and emergency obstetric situations. Among the situations covered were normal labor, emergent prenatal assessment, postpartum hemorrhage and material resuscitation, hypertensive emergencies in pregnancy, malpresentations, shoulder dystocia and fetal monitoring.
It was taught by faculty from UNR Med's family and community medicine departments in Reno and Las Vegas, as well as community faculty from both ends of the state and nurses from University Medical Center of Southern Nevada.
The two-day course, with additional pre-reading requirements, presented the material in both lecture and practical workshop formats, using manikins for hands-on practice of the techniques introduced.
According to Elissa Palmer, M.D., family medicine chair in Las Vegas, who spearheaded this educational experience, many critical factors contribute to the large number of medical emergencies and complicated deliveries of newborns in Nevada. Those factors include the high costs of malpractice insurance, shortages of physicians in rural areas, distances rural women must travel for maternity care and increasing minority populations who are often unable to seek timely obstetric care.
Introducing students early in their clinical years to standardized training in the management of emergency obstetrical situations can significantly increase patient access to safe, quality care.