Training courses in hospitals are an efficient way of providing parallel theoretical knowledge and practical hands on learning. I have conducted one day, two day, and whole week courses (and some longer in Cape Town), and have sample programmes for these. Preferably though, the host for the course should carefully assess their training needs, and even through correspondence/email I can customise a course to best meet those needs. In general, I strive to provide a continuity from the basic science through clinical evidence to practical skills development. Each hospital and situation has its own unique features, and I believe also it is important to be flexible and adaptable during the course. As I make my own rapid situational analysis I can rapidly commend areas that are already being done well, and spend more time on areas that can improve.
For optimal maternal and neonatal care, there should be a closed collaboration between obstetric and paediatric care, and some learning content is importantly shared between these disciplines. But actually, both could fall under a single discipline I term “perinatology”! Many places already have close collaboration, others less so, but for all a course such as this provides an ideal platform to develop a meaningful partnership in caring for mothers and babies without separation. Having emphasised this, there are obviously aspects of the perimatal neuroscience that are more relevant to obstetricians and midwives, and other aspects more relevant to neonatologists and neonatal staff. I am able to focus training courses to obstetric or neonatal care exclusively.
The scope and quality of these courses is greatly enhanced when working together with my wife Jill. She provides additional theoretical knowledge on developmental care, parent counselling and educational aspects with respect to nurse –parent communication. On the practical side, she teaches sensory supportive developmental care, skin-to-skin technique and breastfeeding basics in the skin-to-skin position. While one of us lectures, the other makes preparations with parents and staff for the practical demonstrations. For these to work well, careful preparation is required, and the establishment of an appropriate rapport with the parents. In working together, we also have capacity to do more individual coaching, as well as pre-tests and posts tests, and more formal evaluations.
In implementing practice change, it is essential also to include the night staff, and I am prepared to incorporate night-time fireside lectures for them.
Course materials are provided, primarily in electronic format, again customised to identified needs. This usually includes objectives, content, references and and handouts of all talks, key journal articles, and selections of policies, guidelines and implementation tools.
Within two or three weeks of a course, I provide a written report summarising my inputs, with key recommendations.