Update in Emergency Obstetric Care for Nurses working in Emergency Departments.

Programme Rationale:

ED nurses may on occasion be required to care for a pregnant or postpartum woman who presents to the ED with an obstetric emergency. It is important that these women receive safe quality care. The ED nurse must work within her/his Scope of practice whilst delivering quality care to the woman and her family (Scope of Nursing and Midwifery Practice Framework, 2015).  This course aims to provide ED nurses with an update on how to recognise an obstetric emergency situation and to assist with assessing, planning and implementing care and appropriate referral for a woman as part of the multidisciplinary healthcare team in the ED.

Programme Philosophy:

The philosophy underpinning this programme is that ED nurses who participate are engaging in Continuing Professional Development. The Centre for Midwifery Education acknowledges that nurse participants are adult learners who have existing knowledge and a wealth of experience. Continuing Professional Development contributes to the maintenance and enhancement of competence and is expected of every nurse and midwife (Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics for Registered Nurses and Registered Midwives, 2014).

Aim of Programme:

The programme aims to provide ED nurses with an overview of the management of emergency obstetric conditions with which a pregnant or postpartum woman could present to the Emergency Department.

Learning Outcomes:


  • To discuss the emergency situations that a woman might present with to an Emergency Department.

  • To provide ED nurses with up to date information on the management of the different emergency situations with which a woman could present.

  • To help ED nurses assess, plan and implement safe care for a woman who is in an Emergency Department when pregnant or postpartum

Indicative content:


  • Overview of the Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths (EMBRRACE-UK, MDE Ireland 2014-2016).

  • Signs of labour and managment of normal birth.

  • Recognising and providing emergency treatment for postpartum haemorrhage, eclamptic fit, cord prolapse, shoulder dystocia, sepsis, breech birth, etopic pregnancy and miscarriage.

  • Nursing care of ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage and post termination, for women who present to the ED.

  • Use of IMEWS.

  • Modifications in CPR when resuscitating the pregnant woman.

  • Management of the Preterm Infant in the Emergency Department including immediate resuscitation of the newborn and thermoregulation of the neonate.