Abstract Aim To critically examine the evidence for simulation based learning in midwifery education. Background Simulated Learning Programs (SLPs) using low to high fidelity techniques are common in obstetric professionals’ education and focus on the development of team work, labour and obstetric emergencies. Review methods A systematic review incorporating critical appraisal approaches, setting clear objectives and a defined search and analysis strategy. Evidence from obstetrics, neonatology, technical and non-technical skills (teamwork) was included where it informed the development of midwifery curricula. Studies in English from 2000 to 2010 were included searching CINAHL Plus, OVID Medline, Cochrane, SCOPUS and ProQuest and Google Scholar. Results Twenty-four papers were identified that met the inclusion criteria. All were quantitative reports; outcomes and levels of evidence varied with two notable papers indicating that simulation had an impact on clinical practice. Benefits of SLP over didactic formats were apparent, as were the development of non-technical skills confidence and competence. The study outcomes were limited by the range of evidence and context of the reports which focussed on obstetric emergency training using a number of simulation techniques. Conclusion There is evidence that simulated learning of midwifery skills is beneficial. Simulation learning has an educational and clinical impact and advantages over didactic approaches. Where clinical practice is infrequent i.e. obstetric emergencies, simulation is an essential component of curricula. Simulation enhances practice and therefore may reduce the time taken to achieve competence; however there is no evidence from the literature that simulation should replace clinical practice.
Objective: To describe Australian midwifery academics' perceptions of the current barriers and enablers for simulation in midwifery education in Australia and the potential and resources required for simulation to be increased. Design: A series of 11 focus groups/interviews were held in all states and territories of Australia with 46 participating academics nominated by their heads of discipline from universities across the country. Findings: Three themes were identified relating to barriers to the extension of the use of simulated learning environments (SLEs) ('there are things that you can't simulate'; 'not having the appropriate resources'; and professional accreditation requirements) and three themes were identified to facilitate SLE use ('for the bits that you're not likely to see very often in clinical'; ['for students] to figure something out before [they] get to go out there and do it on the real person'; and good resources and support). Key conclusion: Although barriers exist to the adoption and spread of simulated learning in midwifery, there is a long history of simulation and a great willingness to enhance its use among midwifery academics in Australia. Implications for practice: While some aspects of midwifery practice may be impossible to simulate, more collaboration and sharing in the development and use of simulation scenarios, equipment, space and other physical and personnel resources would make the uptake of simulation in midwifery education more widespread. Students would therefore be exposed to the best available preparation for clinical practice contributing to the safety and quality of midwifery care.