A Collaboration with the University of Michigan and the Institute for the Advancement of Breastfeeding and Lactation Education
Authors: Anna Sadovnikova, Samantha A. Chuisano, Kaoer Ma, Aria Grabowski, Kate P. Stanley, Katrina B. Mitchell, Anne Eglash, Jeffrey S. Plott, Ruth E. Zielinski & Olivia S. Anderson
The open-access manuscript has been published in the International Journal of Breastfeeding Medicine
A key reason for premature cessation of breastfeeding is inadequate support from healthcare providers. Most physicians and nurses do not feel confident in their ability to support families with breastfeeding initiation or maintenance. Increasing health professional confidence in clinical lactation skills is key to improving maternal and child health outcomes. High-fidelity (realistic) simulators encourage learner engagement, resulting in increased clinical skills competency, confidence, and transfer to patient care. Lactation educators teach with low-fidelity cloth and single breast models. There are no high-fidelity breast simulators for health professional education in clinical lactation.
Development and evaluation of a high-fidelity lactation simulation model
In this commentary we describe the development of a high-fidelity Lactation Simulation Model (LSM) and how physician residents, nurse-midwifery students, and clinical lactation experts provided feedback on LSM prototypes.
The user-testing described in this commentary does not represent comprehensive validation of the LSM due to small sample sizes and the significant conflict of interest.
For breastfeeding rates to improve, mothers need support from their nurses, midwives, pediatricians, obstetricians and gynecologists, and all healthcare staff who interact with pregnant and lactating women. Clinical education with high-fidelity breastfeeding simulators could be the ideal learning modality for trainees and hospital staff to build confidence in clinical lactation skills. The ability of a high-fidelity breastfeeding simulator to increase a learner’s lactation knowledge and psychomotor skills acquisition, retention, and transfer to patient care still needs to be tested.