1Blood-Borne Virus Sector Development Program, Australian Research Centre in Sex Health and Society, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Electronic address: email@example.com.
2Mercy Health, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia.
3Mercy Health, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia; School of Nursing and Midwifery, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
4Judith Lumley Centre, School of Nursing and Midwifery, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Background: Midwives play a critical role in ensuring that HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C screening occurs during early pregnancy, in accordance with national consensus guidelines and policies. Limited opportunities exist for midwives to gain the knowledge, skills and confidence required to initiate testing discussions at the first antenatal visit.
Aim: To design, deliver and evaluate a workforce education intervention to build midwives' capacity to initiate testing for HIV and viral hepatitis.
Method: Victorian midwives were invited to enrol in an intervention which comprised a pre-learning package and a one-day study day covering clinical, epidemiological and psychosocial aspects of HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C testing in early pregnancy. A pre-/post-test design, incorporating a survey with eight knowledge items and four confidence items, was used to measure impact.
Findings: Of the 69 participating midwives, 55 completed the pre-survey, 69 completed the post-survey and 19 completed a three-month follow up survey. Participant knowledge improved across all domains, with the most significant increases in the areas of HIV and viral hepatitis testing, transmission and treatment. Midwives' confidence levels increased following the intervention, and this was generally sustained among the smaller sample at the three-months.
Conclusion: Our findings demonstrate that short educational interventions, designed and delivered by content experts, result in longer-term improvements in clinical practice which are crucial to ensuring women and their partners are given adequate information and recommendations about screening for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C and during pregnancy.