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A study of evidence sources used in midwifery training and practice

Date and Location




Monday 23 September 2013 - 10:30 - 12:00


Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author

Fiona Alderdice

Contact person

Fiona Alderdice
Toby Lasserson
Abstract text
Background: Reports across various settings show significant barriers still exist to the use of reliable evidence sources by health professionals in training and in practice. Objectives 1. To describe the attitudes of midwifery students to evidence based practice (EBP). 2. To identify the evidence sources that midwifery students access most frequently. 3. To explore the views of midwifery students, teachers and practitioners to different summary evidence formats. Methods: A survey was completed by 118 student midwives training at a university in the UK to explore attitudes to EBP and evidence sources used. Three focus groups were also conducted with midwifery educators, midwifery students, and midwives in practice. Both the survey and focus group schedule contained examples of abstracts and plain language summaries of Cochrane reviews to explore participants’ views on content and format. Results: Students were positive about EBP however lack of time (34%), lack of training (20%) and lack of awareness (11%) were perceived to be the biggest barriers to using evidence in practice. Out of a list of 17 possible sources of evidence, students reported using the following most often/always: professional guidelines (91%), NHS guidelines (90%), research articles (87%), hospital guidelines (84%), textbooks (80%), consulting with colleagues (71%), expert opinion (65%) and Cochrane Reviews (51%). Three common themes were identified across the focus groups: Conflict in Communicating Evidence, Barriers to Using Cochrane Reviews and Presentation of Review Evidence Summaries (content and format). Conclusions: Despite positive attitudes to using evidence in practice, barriers to using sources such as Cochrane reviews need to be addressed. The content and format of evidence summaries were perceived to be important to enhancing use of review evidence and an RCT is currently being conducted to see what data midwives extract accurately from different summary evidence formats.