Objective The development and evaluation of a computer-assisted teaching programme of cardiotocog-raphy and acid-base balance.
Design Randomised controlled trial.
Participants One hundred and seventeen midwifery and obstetric staff at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth.
Methods The obstetricians and midwives were randomly allocated to use the teaching programme, either early or late. The late group (control) used the teaching programme three months after the early group. To assess the effect of the teaching programme, participants were tested on four occasions over eight months by a multiple choice questionnaire. Two questionnaires on ease of use were also completed.
Main outcome measures Multiple choice questionnaire scores and opinion questionnaire results.
Results The mean score in the early group improved from 50.8% (test 1, pre-teaching programme) to 70.2% (test 2, post-teaching programme). The mean score in the control group was 50.3% (test 1) and 54.8% (test 2). Knowledge was retained up to seven months.
Conclusions The teaching programme was effective in improving knowledge of acid-base balance and cardiotocography and can be used by all staff whilst on duty on the labour ward.