Web-Based Training for Nurses on Using a Decision Aid to Support Shared Decision-making About Prenatal Screening: Parallel Controlled Trial

JMIR Nurs. 2022 Jan 25;5(1):e31380. doi: 10.2196/31380.


Background: Nurses play an important role in supporting pregnant women making decisions about prenatal screening for Down syndrome. We developed a web-based shared decision-making (SDM) training program for health professionals focusing on Down syndrome screening decisions.

Objective: In this study, we aim to assess the impact of an SDM training program on nurses' intention to use a decision aid with pregnant women deciding on prenatal screening for Down syndrome.

Methods: In this 2-arm, parallel controlled trial, French-speaking nurses working with pregnant women in the province of Quebec were recruited by a private survey firm. They were allocated by convenience either to the intervention group (web-based SDM course that included prenatal screening) or to the control group (web-based course focusing on prenatal screening alone, with no SDM content). The primary outcome was the intention to use a decision aid. Secondary outcomes were psychosocial variables of intention, knowledge, satisfaction, acceptability, perceived usefulness, and reaction to the pedagogical approach. All outcomes were self-assessed through web-based questionnaires, including the space for written comments. We used 2-tailed Student t test and Fisher exact test to compare continuous and categorical variables between groups, respectively.

Results: Of the 57 participants assessed for eligibility, 40 (70%) were allocated to the intervention (n=20) or control group (n=20) and 36 (n=18 in each) completed the courses. The mean age of the participants was 41 (SD 9) years. Most were women (39/40, 98%), White (38/40, 95%), clinical nurses (28/40, 70%), and had completed at least a bachelor's degree (30/40, 75%). After the intervention, the mean score of intention was 6.3 (SD 0.8; 95% CI 5.9-6.7) for the intervention group and 6.0 (SD 1.2; 95% CI 5.42-6.64) for the control group (scale 1-7). The differences in intention and other psychosocial variable scores between the groups were not statistically significant. Knowledge scores for SDM were significantly higher in the intervention group (79%, 95% CI 70-89 vs 64%, 95% CI 57-71; P=.009). The intervention was significantly more acceptable in the intervention group (4.6, 95% CI 4.4-4.8 vs 4.3, 95% CI 4.1-4.5; P=.02), and reaction to the pedagogical approach was also significantly more positive in the intervention group (4.7, 95% CI 4.5-4.8 vs 4.4, 95% CI 4.2-4.5; P=.02). There was no significant difference in overall satisfaction (or in perceived usefulness). Furthermore, 17 participants (9 in the intervention group and 8 in the control group) provided written comments on the intervention.

Conclusions: This study focuses on web-based nursing education and its potential to support pregnant women's decision-making needs. It shows that nurses' intention to use a decision aid to enhance SDM in prenatal care is high, with or without training, but that their knowledge about SDM can be improved with web-based training.

International registered report identifier (irrid): RR2-10.2196/17878.

Keywords: Down syndrome; behavioral intention; continuing education; continuing professional development; decision aid; medical education; nurses; nursing; pediatrics; prenatal; prenatal screening; screening; shared decision-making; training; trisomy.