Women with physical disability in pregnancy resident education: a national survey as a needs assessment for curriculum improvement in obstetrics and gynaecology in Canada

BMJ Open. 2019 Jul 9;9(7):e024505. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-024505.


Objectives: To explore the current status to which Canadian obstetrics and gynaecology (Ob-Gyn) programmes teach residents about pregnancy in patients with physical disabilities, and to assess the level of interested in providing formal education sessions in this field. This study also assesses the residents' perception of their knowledge and their comfort level caring for women with physical disabilities (WWPD), which will further determine the need for incorporation of this topic into the residency curriculum.

Design: Cross-sectional survey.

Setting: All Canadian English accredited Ob-Gyn residency programmes.

Participants: Programme directors and residents.

Main outcome measures: The current self-reported education and exposure Canadian Ob-Gyn residents have surrounding WWPD in pregnancy, and if there is an interest in further education in this area.

Methods: An online survey was developed and distributed to all Canadian English accredited Ob-Gyn residency programme directors and residents. Answers were collected over a 2-month period in 2017, which consisted of an initial email and two email reminders. Questions were in three key areas: demographic characteristics, knowledge gap and level of interest in a formal method of education.

Results: Eighty-four residents and nine programme directors participated in the surveys. Eighty-six per cent of residents and all programme directors responded that there are no formal scheduled training sessions on WWPD as part of the residency curriculum. Two-thirds of the residents reported being uncomfortable with the management issues surrounding a woman with a disability in pregnancy. A vast majority of residents (91.67%) and all programme directors have an interest in incorporating this topic into the residency curriculum to meet the need of pregnant women with disabilities.

Conclusions: This survey indicated that there is both a need for and interest in education in the area of pregnancy and physical disability in the Canadian Ob-Gyn residency programme. This information suggests that the development of educational materials in this area should be considered to address an unmet need with the ultimate goal of improving the care provided to WWPD in pregnancy. Future projects in this area should focus on content development taking into account the CanMEDS and competency-based medical education framework.

Keywords: curriculum; needs assessment; physical disability; pregnancy; resident education.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Canada
  • Clinical Competence
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Curriculum
  • Disabled Persons*
  • Female
  • Gynecology / education*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency
  • Needs Assessment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Obstetrics / education*
  • Pregnancy*