Objective To describe models used for the training of labour ward personnel in acute obstetric emergencies and to describe how these models have been evaluated and compared.
Design A systematic review of the following databases: Medline, the Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Embase, PsycLit, Allied and Alternative Medicine, Education Resources Information Center and the Cochrane Library using a structured search strategy.
Setting Labour ward.
Population or Sample Labour ward personnel.
Inclusion criteria All papers that described or evaluated any form of drill or training in acute obstetric emergencies involving any personnel in a labour ward environment were included. Descriptions of training in developing countries were excluded.
Methods Papers were classified as editorials or commentaries, papers describing a training programme or papers evaluating a training method. A data collection form was used to extract relevant information by two investigators independently.
Main outcome measure Description of training models.
Results Of 44 relevant papers, 22 were classed as editorials or commentaries. Six descriptions of training programmes were found and four papers involved an evaluation of such programmes. All evaluations involved the use of questionnaires to course participants. No studies comparing one form of training with another were found.
Conclusions With regard to training in acute obstetric emergencies, few training programmes have been described, and even fewer have been evaluated. Training methods need to be developed, described and evaluated; further well-conducted research for this important intervention is urgently required.