Clinical decision making and referral of obstetric emergencies: A case of EmONC trained and untrained nurses and midwives in Mpika District, Muchinga Province, Zambia

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Bwalya, Pearson
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University of Zambia
The study was conducted to determine whether there was a difference in clinical decision making between nurses and midwives trained in Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care (EmONC) and the untrained on referral of obstetric emergencies and whether there was a relationship between being trained in EmONC and the outcome of an obstetric emergency. Prompt decision making in referring women with obstetric complications to the next level of care for further management by nurses and midwives is critical in reducing maternal mortality rate. The total maternal mortality for Mpika District in 2014 was 12 and out of the 12 recorded deaths, 10 were from the referred cases. There is still high maternal mortality in Zambia despite strategies like EmONC being implemented whose goal is to provide knowledge, clinical and decision making skills to nurses and other relevant staff to respond appropriately to obstetric emergencies. The main objective of the study was to determine the differentials in clinical decision making and referral of obstetric emergencies between nurses and midwives who have undergone training in EmONC and those who have not. This was a cross sectional survey conducted in Mpika District. A sample size of 18 nurses and midwives was selected using census method as they were limited in number; and 111 obstetric referral records were purposively sampled. A pre-tested self-administered questionnaire and checklists were used to collect and record the information. Data was analyzed using IBM SPSS for windows statistical software version 22.0. Chi-square test was used to test associations between the dependent and independent variables. The study findings revealed that out of the 18 nurses and midwives who participated in the study, (44%) 8 were trained in EmONC while (66%) 10 were not. The findings showed no difference in timely referral of obstetric emergencies (χ2= .407; p> 0.005). The findings did not show a strong relationship between being trained in EmONC and the outcome of an obstetric emergency (χ2 =0.644 p> 0.005). However, Environmental and organizational contexts of decision making such as availability of transport by the referring unit (95% CI, P- Value 0.002), going to hospital with a referral letter (95% CI, P- value =0.016) and documentation of pre-referral treatment on the referral form (95% CI, P-value= 0.019) were significantly related to being referred by EmONC trained nurse or midwife. The study results indicate that there is no difference in clinical decision making between the EmONC trained and the untrained in relation to timely referral, foundational knowledge and outcome of referred obstetric emergencies.
Master of Science in Nursing and Midwifery
Obstetrial emergencies , Emergency medical services