This post is aimed at midwives and trainee doctors who may be newly qualified or looking for a way to update their perineal suturing skills. Medics Academy is an online education platform enabling healthcare professionals to learn in new and innovative ways.
As part of my continuing professional development, I have recently completed Medics Academy Perineal Training Package. The module has been expertly created with midwives in mind. It is an online resource featuring experienced consultant gynaecologist and obstetrician Dr Dan Selo-Ojeme. The course has been rolled out across the obstetric department of some London teaching trusts. If you’d like to try it yourself then it can be accessed here. I have teamed up with the Medics Academy to give readers a 20% discount on the course. All you need to do is enter the code mamabear20 at the checkout.
My Suturing Story
In my career, I have attended a handful of face to face perineal suturing, based in different institutions. Over the years I have mostly worked on a delivery suite or midwifery-led unit. In these environments, I have worked with some excellent doctors and senior midwives who have helped shape and improve my perineal repair technique. As a practice development midwife, I have taught perineal repair courses to students, midwives and junior doctors. I have even been lucky enough to teach on perineal repair courses based at the RCOG. With this in mind I was sceptical whether an online module would be of much benefit to me, however, I found the course a useful update to my practice.
You are led through the module by Dr Selo-Ojeme. A clinical lead for urogynae services in a major London teaching trust. Following his initial introduction, he becomes more animated and is clearly passionate about this chosen topic of perineal repair. Topics covered include anatomy, preparation, long-term effects of perineal morbidity, instruments, technique and a practical demonstration. It is reasonably priced at only £50 (as a special gift to readers remember you can get 20% off this price using discount code mamabear20).
The online module is easy to access. The website is quick to load and simple to navigate. The bonus of online training is doing it from the comfort of your own home, no need to travel to a study day or pay for travelling/parking costs. You can easily find time to fit it around other commitments.
How long will it take me?
One of my favourite things about the course is the bite-size tutorials. The longest video is 6 minutes so it is perfect for those of us with a short attention span! As it is done in short sharp chunks, it allows ample opportunity to take a break or get a snack. The overall length is only 63 mins so it is also manageable to complete in one sitting. Unlike some other popular online training packages (mentioning no names K2!), this one doesn’t hang over you for days or weeks.
Did I learn anything new?
Actually yes I did. I was nicely surprised to find that I learnt a new suturing technique during the module, which I went straight out into practice and used during my next shift.
There’s also an interesting section on long-term morbidity for women experiencing perineal trauma, which certainly gave me a different perspective. As midwives, we often send women home following birth with mountains of advice on immediate recovery, newborn care and infant feeding. However, we often don’t spend too much time thinking about long-term healing, perineal pain and sexual function. In this section, Dr Selo-Ojeme talks you through a handful of referral letters from GP’s about women experiencing problems, sometimes years or even decades after childbirth. It certainly provides food for thought and is a case for always trying to improve our technique.
My top highlights
The diagrams in the anatomy section are really clear and easy to understand. During Dr Selo-Ojeme’s description, areas of the diagram are shaded to highlight which area is being discussed. It includes one of the clearest explanations of the internal muscles that I have heard. The diagram shows the muscles with the external skin ‘peeled off’. In this view, you can clearly make out the bulbospongiosus, transverse perinea, anal sphincter muscles and how they sit together in a figure of eight.
Ever wondered how to correctly hold surgical instruments? The instrument section is a good additional detail for midwives who are novice’s when handling surgical instruments.
The course is based on an RCM accredited course that has been running for 14 years and has trained over 2000 midwives. Therefore it can be used as evidence of CPD for revalidation. Unfortunately, there is no printable certificate at the end of the module. I have fed this back to Medics Academy and they sent me an individualised one for my portfolio.
I don’t believe any online course can replace the elements of face to face teaching that some midwives might need. Obviously, there is no one to ask further questions, go over a point that you don’t understand or perhaps explain it in a different way so you understand. However, you can replay sections of the training without having to repeat the whole course and it’s generally easy to understand and follow.
Most people crave hands-on experience when learning suturing technique, especially if they are a practical learner who needs to get stuck into a task to truly understand it. Therefore it probably can’t replace hands-on teaching. I do however think that this module is good as background theory and a great refresher of anatomy and technique for more experienced hands. If you’re wanting a more practical element, I suggest grabbing some equipment and go through the skills as they happen on the screen. Then get out there and ask an experienced midwife or doctor to observe and support you in the skills you have learnt through this module.
This module provides an excellent theoretical background for new midwives and is a useful update to anatomy and technique for more experienced midwives. What it lacks in practical interactive teaching it makes up for by being convenient and easy to use.
Don’t forget to enter discount code mamabear20 for a 20% discount, if you want to try the Perineal Repair by Medics Academy. Click here to log in to the module.
*I did not receive a fee for writing this, however, Medical Academy provided me with this course free of charge in return for completing this review.*