gms | German Medical Science

G-I-N Conference 2012

Guidelines International Network

22.08 - 25.08.2012, Berlin

Developing guideline proficiency in a Master of Science programme for midwives

Meeting Abstract

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  • A. Bernloehr - Hannover Medical School, Midwifery Research and Education Unit, Hanover, Germany
  • M. M. Gross - Hannover Medical School, Head of Midwifery Research and Education Unit, Hanover, Germany

Guidelines International Network. G-I-N Conference 2012. Berlin, 22.-25.08.2012. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2012. DocP182

doi: 10.3205/12gin294, urn:nbn:de:0183-12gin2941

Published: July 10, 2012

© 2012 Bernloehr et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Background: Midwives are faced with a wealth of guidelines from diverse authorities and of variable quality. However, only good guidelines, based on current and sound scientific evidence should be implemented. Moreover, experienced clinicians are needed for developing guidelines.

Context: Specific knowledge and competencies are needed for appraising, as well as for developing guidelines. These fundamentals are not systematically taught during midwifery training, but should be developed when qualifying for an MSc degree. Teaching these skills online is innovative.

Description of best practice: Within the framework of the European Master of Science in Midwifery programme, the 8 ECTS module ‘Guidelines relevant for childbirth’ is offered. Step-by-step the role of guidelines is reflected. On the basis of this, the ability to systematically appraise the structural and methodological quality of guidelines is developed. After this, the systematic search and grading of evidence is practised. Formal techniques for dealing with imperfect or contradictory evidence, as well as the role of experts are explored. Finally, the link between the methodological quality of a guideline and the quality of its content is analysed, using national and international guidelines as examples. The module ends with a competence-oriented assignment.

Lessons to learn: Midwives at Master level need fundamental competencies for critically appraising, as well as for developing guidelines. As this is currently not included in the basic training of midwives, opportunities are needed to develop these abilities. The described online learning module is a good example for this.