Optional Research Module

Following on from last week's midwifery post on my application for the Early Career Leadership Fellowship, as part of the programme there was also an optional topic. There were 5 choices (listed below) to select from, with all but the latter being somewhat relevant to midwifery. 

  • Maintain skin health and integrity 
  • Encourage safer mobility
  • Promote healthier bladder and bowel
  • Optimise nutrition and hydration
  • Dementia care

As a midwife, the majority of the women and their families that I look after are generally fit and well both during, before and after pregnancy. In labour, a significant proportion of women have epidurals, and a further percentage of women have Caesarean sections, whether elective or emergency. For this reason, as part of the Early Career Leadership Fellowship, I have chosen the area topic of “maintain skin health and integrity” as my focus for the challenge. 

Skin integrity refers to skin health. A skin integrity issue might mean the skin is damaged, vulnerable to injury or unable to heal normally. A pressure wound (also called a pressure sore, bed sore or pressure ulcer) is an injury to the skin and surrounding tissue. - Gillette Children's

I think that as midwives, it is an area we do not particularly focus on, but I have recognised the importance of doing so over the past year. I also feel we do not have much training or teaching on the paperwork involved and mechanisms to check skin and pressure sores. Whilst we do the mandatory packages, in practice this is something many are poor at implementing. I think if I gained confidence in this myself, I could potentially further benefit our clients going forward, by supporting other staff members and training going forward. 

Personally, I know I struggle with the e-learning module available at my trust. I have just redone it recently as the training had expired. I actually failed it the first time I did it last year, but luckily this year, I passed them first time. I made sure to take plenty of notes during the videos and then the questions weren't as difficult as I remember them being. I still struggle to determine the different categories but hopefully it will click with this further research. 

I enjoy research and have been involved throughout my undergraduate studies. I would love the opportunity to explore the evidence base around this topic, allowing for safe and effective practice. Providing a gold standard of care to all is crucial and harm can be caused if this area is not correctly cared for, for example pressure sores.