Intermittent auscultation versus continuous fetal monitoring: exploring factors that influence birthing unit nurses’ fetal surveillance practice using theoretical domains framework

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Patey, Andrea M
Curran, Janet A
Sprague, Ann E
Francis, Jill J
Driedger, S. M
Légaré, France
Lemyre, Louise
Pomey, Marie-Pascale A
Grimshaw, Jeremy M
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Abstract Background Intermittent Auscultation (IA) is the recommended method of fetal surveillance for healthy women in labour. However, the majority of women receive continuous electronic monitoring. We used the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) to explore the views of Birthing Unit nurses about using IA as their primary method of fetal surveillance for healthy women in labour. Methods Using a semi-structured interview guide, we interviewed a convenience sample of birthing unit nurses throughout Ontario, Canada to elicit their views about fetal surveillance. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Transcripts were content analysed using the TDF and themes were framed as belief statements. Domains potentially key to changing fetal surveillance behaviour and informing intervention design were identified by noting the frequencies of beliefs, content, and their reported influence on the use of IA. Results We interviewed 12 birthing unit nurses. Seven of the 12 TDF domains were perceived to be key to changing birthing unit nurses’ behaviour The nurses reported that competing tasks, time constraints and the necessity to multitask often limit their ability to perform IA (domains Beliefs about capabilities; Environmental context and resources). Some nurses noted the decision to use IA was something that they consciously thought about with every patient while others stated it their default decision as long as there were no risk factors (Memory, attention and decision processes, Nature of behaviour). They identified positive consequences (e.g. avoid unnecessary interventions, mother-centered care) and negative consequences of using IA (e.g. legal concerns) and reported that the negative consequences can often outweigh positive consequences (Beliefs about consequences). Some reported that hospital policies and varying support from care teams inhibited their use of IA (Social influences), and that support from the entire team and hospital management would likely increase their use (Social influences; Behavioural regulation). Conclusion We identified potential influences on birthing unit nurses’ use of IA as their primary method of fetal surveillance. These beliefs suggest potential targets for behaviour change interventions to promote IA use.
BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. 2017 Sep 25;17(1):320