Midwives’ and doctors’ attitudes towards the use of the cardiotocograph machine

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The appropriate use of the cardiotocograph (CTG) machine in the clinical setting is an issue of concern for midwives and doctors.OBJECTIVE: To examine midwives and doctors attitudes towards the use of the CTG machine in labour ward practice.BACKGROUND: this small study provides new insight into the attitudes of doctor and midwives towards the use of CTG.DESIGN: An exploratory descriptive design that used a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches. A valid and reliable tool designed by Sinclair (2001) was used to measure the attitudes of doctors and midwives towards CTG usage. In addition, follow-up semi-structured interviews with doctors and midwives were conducted.SETTING: A maternity unit in Northern Ireland.PARTICIPANTS: Participants selected had worked in the labour ward within the last year (n = 56 midwives; n = 19 doctors). Six midwives and two doctors were randomly selected to participate in the interviews.FINDINGS: The study demonstrated a favourable disposition towards the use of CTG machines with 72.5% (n = 29) of respondents indicating that they viewed CTG technology positively and 87.5% (n = 25) indicating they were confident about their skill in interpreting CTG tracings. The majority of the respondents (60.0%, n = 24) felt that their training adequately prepared them for using CTGs. The illustrative accounts provided by the respondents demonstrated a predominant belief that CTG technology continues to have a role in monitoring and detecting abnormalities in the fetal heart rate but this role is limited by how well the CTG is used and interpreted. The interviews confirmed the data obtained from the questionnaires and revealed a number of professional needs and concerns relating to CTG usage.IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: The implication of this study may be focused on addressing the training needs of students, newly qualified staff and regular updates for employed staff. There was some concern that this technology may be deskilling staff and therefore there is a need to improve confidence levels in using alternatives to this type of fetal monitoring.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-285
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2011


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