Effectiveness of Vaginal Delivery Simulation in Novice Trainees

Fam Med. 2016 Oct;48(9):696-702.


Objective: Simulation training has been demonstrated to increase medical student confidence with vaginal deliveries; however, effect on skill performance is still lacking. To determine if integration of simulation training into the OB/GYN clerkship improves performance of vaginal deliveries, we assessed the effectiveness of simulation in third-year medical students.

Methods: During the OB/GYN clerkship, third-year students were assigned to receive vaginal delivery simulation (n=54) or cervical exam simulation (n=56), with each group serving as a simulation naïve control for the other skill. As a final assessment of their skill, students performed a simulated vaginal delivery scored by a blinded observer using a procedural checklist (score 0-30). A satisfactory score was considered 26 or greater. The individual scores and percentage of satisfactory scores were compared between both groups using a Mann-Whitney U test and chi-square test, respectively.

Results: Vaginal delivery students had a significantly higher mean score (27 +/- 3.2) and percentage of students achieving a passing score (85%) than the cervical exam students (22 +/- 3.5 and 15%). There were no differences in vaginal delivery performance based on gender, nor was there any difference in the number of real-life deliveries performed between vaginal delivery and cervical exam students.

Conclusions: Even though medical students had an equivalent clinical rotation experience, a short period of simulation training had a marked effect on their end-of-rotation performance. During initial resident or midwife training more than 5 hours of simulation will likely be required to properly prepare 100% of trainees.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Clerkship / methods
  • Clinical Competence
  • Delivery, Obstetric / education*
  • Educational Measurement / methods
  • Educational Measurement / standards
  • Female
  • Gynecology / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Simulation Training / methods*
  • Students, Medical / psychology*