Ms Jessica Wood

Ms Jessica Wood

Associate Lecturer

School of Nursing and Midwifery (Midwifery)

Generation next

Jessica Wood’s passion for midwifery is transformed into teaching through innovations in technology.

Jessica Wood

When Jessica finished year 12, she knew she was interested in health, and enrolled in a Bachelor of Nursing. However, in her final year of study, she underwent two maternity placements and found her real love – midwifery. “When I started off in nursing, there wasn’t a direct-entry midwifery course on offer,” Jessica explains. “I thought nursing would be broad and diverse, so I went into that. But after experiencing midwifery, I realised that’s what I wanted to do.”

Immediately after graduating from nursing, Jessica did her Graduate Diploma in Midwifery and worked as a midwife for a few years before having kids of her own. However, the demands of parenting young children and shiftwork didn’t mesh, so Jessica looked for a career that kept her in midwifery, without the challenges of shiftwork.

“I realised that my passion was education,” Jessica explains. “One of the things I most loved about midwifery was working in the postnatal setting and educating women about how to care for their babies. So, I started looking into options for education and midwifery and decided to commence a Masters in Midwifery in 2012.”

Graduating with Distinction, Jessica began work as a sessional midwifery academic at UON in 2013, working part-time and doing part-time clinical work. When she started full-time work at UON in 2017, Jessica commenced her PhD, which she submitted in late 2020.

Innovation in approach

The School of Nursing and Midwifery at UON has a history of innovation in teaching and education methods. At the end of 2016 the newly created IT Innovation team offered an opportunity for academics to work with them to develop VR apps relevant to their discipline, so Jessica took this opportunity to use an app in her PhD. “I’m all about working out what methods of education work best,” Jessica says. “I’m Gen Y so I’ve grown up with technology all my life. If this technique had to be examined by someone it might as well be me!”

Jessica’s PhD is tied to one of her passions: the use of technology and tools such as virtual reality and simulation to educate and train midwifery students so that they can deal with unexpected and stressful situations that often occur during childbirth. “Neonatal resuscitation is a common situation that many midwives face, and it’s very stressful for everyone involved,” says Jessica. “We wanted to see if having access to an extra mode of teaching through virtual reality made students more confident and less stressed in this situation if they’d rehearsed their response using virtual reality.”

Working with 2nd year Bachelor of Midwifery students, some were randomly assigned to have access to a portable VR headset to access additional training on neonatal resuscitation.

While the VR intervention did not have a significant impact on student confidence or stress levels when compared to students who did not have access to this intervention, Jessica feels there’s merit is using this as a tool for students who choose it in future, particularly as current teaching practices are moving more into the online and virtual space.

Jessica also helped co-develop another app that is currently being used as a teaching tool within the Bachelor of Midwifery. “It’s called Road to Birth and it’s basically a pregnancy physiology and anatomy tool that shows the changes that happen throughout pregnancy,” Jessica explains. “It’s interactive and three-dimensional, allowing students to adjust things like the gestation of the woman’s pregnancy and the position of the baby or placenta, and examine these elements from different angles. In the classroom environment, we can then discuss how these changes might impact on the woman and baby during birth. Now that I’ve finished my PhD I’d like to gather some data on how an interactive app like Road to Birth can be best used to enhance the learning experience for students and help them better learn important childbirth considerations at their own pace.”

A love of teaching

“Teaching is my favourite part of my job,” Jessica admits. “It’s the whole reason why I’m here. I just love helping students learn. Just being able to talk about all things midwifery and offer up pathways for support so every student can achieve their goal of becoming a midwife – that’s what brings me joy.”

“I think my career will always look at student experience and satisfaction, maximising their learning and helping to produce work-ready graduates.”

Educating a confident cohort of midwives is quite the challenge, as Jessica explored in her PhD. “It’s tricky because confidence is really subjective and there’s a lot of things that can influence how confident people feel,” Jessica says. “And people might gauge it differently at different times: for example, just before or just after they’ve completed a task.”

“If we want to help students feel confident, we need to provide them with plenty of opportunities to practice and make the simulations (whether they’re VR simulation or hands-on simulation) as realistic and close to the real-world as possible. This will help students to build confidence in their clinical skills and translate their competence in these skills to the clinical environment.”

The cohort of midwifery students is very different to others, even nursing. “They tend to be mature age, many have other degrees, and many have children of their own,” Jessica says. “The students who come through this degree have a passion for midwifery and a desire to work alongside women and babies; it’s a very competitive degree.”

“The really unique thing about midwifery is that we’re providing care for two people the whole time,” Jessica says. “It’s very special in that sense, we’re playing a role in the health and quality of life for both the women and their babies.”

“It is this reason why I love being involved in the education of our next generation of midwives. It is my aim to educate our midwifery students so that they can go forth and be good educators to the women they care for in practice, talking to women about ways to make their pregnancy as optimal as possible,” Jessica explains. “It’s women who determine the population of the world. When you get women as healthy as possible, you get a healthier population.”

Generation next

Jessica Wood’s passion for midwifery is transformed into teaching through innovations in technology at the University of Newcastle.

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Career Summary

Biography

Jessica has an academic background within the nursing and midwifery professions, having completed a Bachelor of Nursing in 2008, a Graduate Diploma in Midwifery in 2010, and a Master of Midwifery Studies with Distinction in 2013; all through the University of Newcastle.  She has worked for the University of Newcastle since 2013, and has a decade of clinical experience as both a Registered Nurse and Registered Midwife within Hunter Area Health.

Jessica has strong passions for the field of midwifery education and changes within the fields of technology that can be used to better enhance learning experiences, particularly for student midwives in a clinical setting.  The University of Newcastle is currently paving the way in innovative teaching methods within midwifery by utilising virtual reality equipment in its teaching and learning.  Jessica is at the forefront of exploring the use of these new technologies and their benefits to student learning.  Jessica is currently enrolled in a PhD where she is focusing on the use of a virtual reality neonatal resuscitation app being utilised with Bachelor of Midwifery students at UoN.  The research seeks to answer the question: "How does a multi-modal approach to teaching neonatal resuscitation influence confidence and stress levels in 2nd year midwifery students?" This research takes on a mixed-methods approach and was conducted across two cohorts of students in 2018 and 2019.   Data collection is now complete and analysis is currently underway.

"What we currently know is that health practitioners who are under increased levels of stress during emergency situations are more likely to make errors in their practice, have a poorer response time in implementing appropriate treatments/interventions, and subsequently put patient safety at risk" Jessica has said.  According to the Australian and New Zealand Resuscitation Council (ANZCOR), up to 15% of babies require some form of resuscitation at birth, therefore making this one of the most common emergency situations student and registered midwives will face during their careers.  "This research is important as it will allow us to evaluate the effectiveness of using virtual reality in improving student confidence, competence and access to neonatal resuscitation simulation training, while potentially demonstrating a reduction in stress markers as a result."  It is expected that results from this study may highlight whether there are benefits of using virtual reality as a teaching tool, in conjunction with the standard methods of training currently being used across Australian universities.

You can read more about the use of VR within the School of Nursing and Midwifery at UoN here:

http://www.newcastle.edu.au/newsroom/featured-news/a-new-world-in-sight-virtual-reality-to-advance-human-health

http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4686072/the-tech-that-virtually-puts-theory-to-the-test/?cs=303

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/technology/university-of-newcastle-builds-vr-experiences-to-save-babies-lives/news-story/8ad4aa82e981eb876c533b3181af84a2?csp=f671a1b4951baadfeb0eb6a420f552c7

http://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace-relations/a-reality-check-for-midwifery-20170614-gwqta9.html?csp=98e73e84d1b7fa9af31f1c07968bac82

https://healthtimes.com.au/hub/midwifery/38/interview/kk1/boosting-midwifery-education-in-a-virtual-world/2785/


Qualifications

  • Master of Midwifery Studies with Distinction, University of Newcastle
  • Registered Midwife, Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia
  • Bachelor of Nursing, University of Newcastle
  • Graduate Diploma in Midwifery, University of Newcastle
  • Registered Nurse, Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia

Keywords

  • Babies
  • Education
  • Midwifery
  • Nursing
  • Teaching
  • Technology
  • Virtual Reality
  • Women

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
460708 Virtual and mixed reality 25
420499 Midwifery not elsewhere classified 50
390305 Professional education and training 25

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Associate Lecturer University of Newcastle
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Australia
Associate Lecturer University of Newcastle
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Australia

Academic appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
14/11/2016 - 24/2/2017 Casual Academic via Distance

Experience during employment:

- Subject coordinator for postgraduate study - Graduate Diploma in Midwifery

- Familiarity with Interact2 platform, EASTS and Bridgit Conferencing Software

- Managing discussion forums online

- Assessment marking, consultation and student feedback

- Participation in staff/school meetings via teleconference

Charles Sturt University
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health
Australia
13/3/2013 - 22/1/2017 Sessional Academic

Experience during employment:

- Lecturer, tutor and educator across the Bachelor of Nursing and Bachelor of Midwifery degrees

- Clinical labs, clinical assessments and simulation

- Course management, curriculum and course outline review, input into exam and quiz questions

- Educational workshops and mass lecture days

- Assessment marking, marking rubric review

- Involvement in 'wet lab' days for Bachelor of Midwifery students

- Staff and student meetings, mediation and altered pathways for students

- Experience with teleconferencing, Collaborate, ECHO, Blackboard and Turnitin

- Knowledge of APA referencing 6th Edition

The University of Newcastle, NSW
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Australia
26/9/2016 - 25/11/2016 Casual Academic

Experience during employment:

- Casual academic within the Bachelor of Midwifery degree

- Involvement in course review, assessment item review, and textbook updating/revision

- Participation in on-campus workshop days for the midwifery team

- Assessment marking and student feedback

Southern Cross University
School of Health and Human Sciences
Australia
14/3/2017 - 31/5/2017 Casual academic via distance

Casual academic within the Bachelor of Nursing degree

  • Assessment marking and student feedback

Australian Catholic University
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine
Australia

Professional appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
20/1/2014 - 16/1/2017 Registered Nurse / Registered Midwife

- Clinical work at Maitland Hospital

- Shifts across all main midwifery fields - Maternity Ward (primary area), Birthing Suite, Special Care Nursery, Antenatal Clinic

- Regularly allocated as the In-Charge Midwife

- Mentoring and supervising Bachelor of Midwifery students

- Providing care for gynaecology, general medical, general surgical and orthopaedic patients (women only) admitted to the Maternity Ward

- Ongoing professional development through inservices, online training courses, workshops, face to face training days

- Annual Performance reviews with the Midwifery Unit Manager

Hunter New England Area Health - Maitland Hospital
Maternity Unit
Australia

Awards

Award

Year Award
2018 Best Higher Degree Research Student Presentation - Maternal Child and Family Health
School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Newcastle

Prize

Year Award
2014 The School of Nursing and Midwifery Prize for Master of Midwifery Studies
School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Newcastle

Teaching

Code Course Role Duration
MIDI1101 Introduction to Midwifery and the Childbearing Woman
School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Newcastle
Course Coordinator 18/2/2019 - 30/6/2019
MIDI2103 Midwifery Clinical Practice 2
School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Newcastle
Tutor 27/2/2017 - 23/6/2017
NURS1101 Foundations of Professional Practice 1A
School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Newcastle
Tutor 27/2/2017 - 23/6/2017
NURS3108 Care of the Compromised Neonate
School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Newcastle
Tutor 27/2/2017 - 23/6/2017
MIDI2105 Midwifery Practice and Women with Complex Care Needs
School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Newcastle
Course Coordinator 19/2/2021 - 30/6/2021
MIDI2204 Midwifery Complex Practice B
School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Newcastle
Course Coordinator 1/7/2017 - 30/11/2017
MIDI3202 Transitioning to Professional Practice
School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Newcastle
Course Coordinator 1/7/2018 - 30/11/2018
MIDI3201 Transition to Professional Practice
School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Newcastle
Course Coordinator 1/7/2018 - 30/11/2018
MIDI1101 Introduction to Midwifery and the Childbearing Woman
School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Newcastle
Course Coordinator 24/2/2020 - 26/6/2020
MIDI3104 Contemporary Maternity Care Issues
School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Newcastle
Course Coordinator 24/2/2020 - 26/6/2020
MIDI3201 Transition to Professional Practice
School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Newcastle
Course Coordinator 1/7/2017 - 30/11/2017
MIDI2203 Midwifery Complex Care B
School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Newcastle
Course Coordinator 1/7/2017 - 30/11/2017
MIDI1203 Optimising Psychophysiology for a Healthy Transition to Parenthood
School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Newcastle
Course Coordinator 1/7/2020 - 1/12/2020
MIDI3105 Midwifery Practice and Contemporary Maternity Care
School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Newcastle
Course Coordinator 24/2/2020 - 26/6/2020
MIDI3105 Midwifery Practice and Contemporary Maternity Care
School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Newcastle
Course Coordinator 18/2/2019 - 30/6/2019
MIDI3105 Midwifery Practice and Contemporary Maternity Care
School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Newcastle
Course Coordinator 19/2/2018 - 15/7/2018
MIDI1101 Introduction to Midwifery and the Childbearing Woman
School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Newcastle
Course Coordinator 22/2/2021 - 30/6/2021
MIDI3104 Contemporary Maternity Care Issues
School of Nursing and Midwifery University of Newcastle
Course Coordinator 18/2/2019 - 30/6/2019
MIDI3104 Contemporary Maternity Care Issues
School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Newcastle
Course Coordinator 19/2/2018 - 1/7/2018
MIDI3202 Transitioning to Professional Practice
School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Newcastle
Course Coordinator 1/7/2019 - 30/11/2019
MIDI2204 Midwifery Complex Practice B
School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Newcastle
Course Coordinator 1/7/2018 - 30/11/2018
MIDI3105 Midwifery Practice and Contemporary Maternity Care
School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Newcastle
Course Coordinator 22/2/2021 - 30/6/2021
NURS2101 Foundations of Professional Practice 2A
School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Newcastle
Tutor 6/2/2017 - 1/7/2017
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Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.


Journal article (2 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2020 Williams J, Ebert L, Duff J, 'Neonatal resuscitation training for midwives in Australia: A discussion of current practice', Women and Birth, 33 e505-e510 (2020) [C1]

© 2020 Background: More than 300,000 babies are born in Australia each year, with almost 20% of newborns requiring some form of neonatal resuscitation at birth. The most common fi... [more]

© 2020 Background: More than 300,000 babies are born in Australia each year, with almost 20% of newborns requiring some form of neonatal resuscitation at birth. The most common first responders to a neonatal resuscitation emergency are midwives. While the Australian and New Zealand Council on Resuscitation guides midwives¿ practice during a neonatal resuscitation, each state and territory uses varying strategies to train and assess midwives proficiency in neonatal resuscitation. Aim: To examine the neonatal resuscitation training requirements for midwives and raise awareness for the lack of consistency in training in Australia. Discussion: A significant variation was found in the teaching methods and frequency of training for neonatal resuscitation across Australia. Neonatal resuscitation is mandated through a state-wide guideline or policy in only four of the states with seven formal neonatal resuscitation training programs used across seven states and territories. Although a multi-modal approach to learning is present in all of the programs, the combination of teaching methods differ. Conclusion and Recommendations: A standardised, evidence-based training program is required to ensure consistency in training for midwives in Australia. Multi-modal learning is common across all current training programs; however, the best combination of multi-modal teaching methods needs to be determined. Neonatal resuscitation training needs to occur at least annually, as recommended by the Australian and New Zealand Council on Resuscitation.

DOI 10.1016/j.wombi.2020.01.002
Co-authors Jed Duff, Lyn Ebert
2018 Williams J, Jones D, Walker R, 'Consideration of using virtual reality for teaching neonatal resuscitation to midwifery students', Nurse Education in Practice, 31 126-129 (2018) [C1]

© 2018 Within the last decade, there has been significant change in the way tertiary midwifery education has been delivered to students. The use of blended teaching methods and th... [more]

© 2018 Within the last decade, there has been significant change in the way tertiary midwifery education has been delivered to students. The use of blended teaching methods and the introduction of simulated learning experiences has been observed in the literature to improve students¿ self-confidence, competence, clinical judgement and decision-making abilities. Simulation is seen to be particularly important when practising skills that may be infrequently encountered in practice, such as clinical emergencies. Neonatal resuscitation is the most common neonatal emergency encountered within midwifery today, with up to 15% of babies requiring some form of resuscitation at birth. Recent research describes the benefits of using a multi-modal approach to teaching neonatal resuscitation, utilising both theory and simulated learning methods. One emerging method of simulation is that of virtual reality (VR), which has been recognised for its enormous educational potential in risk-free clinical skills training. Currently, however, there is limited research looking at the use of VR in emergency skills training. This article examines the literature to highlight the potential benefits that VR simulation could provide for emergency skills training, as well as the potential challenges that should be acknowledged.

DOI 10.1016/j.nepr.2018.05.016
Citations Scopus - 15Web of Science - 13
Co-authors Donovan Jones, Rohan Walker

Conference (9 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2019 Williams J, Ebert L, Duff J, 'Multi-modal learning using virtual reality technology in neonatal resuscitation: Exploring benefits and limitations', WOMEN AND BIRTH (2019)
DOI 10.1016/j.wombi.2019.07.169
Co-authors Jed Duff, Lyn Ebert
2019 Williams J, 'Bridging the Gap between the Classroom and Clinic with Virtual Applications to Enhance Student Learning and Reduce Real-World Risks', Melbourne, Australia (2019)
2019 Williams J, 'Multi-modal learning using virtual reality simulation in neonatal resuscitation: A new educational approach', Gold Coast, Australia (2019)
2019 Williams J, 'Closely Examining Virtual Reality Technology as a New Generation Learning Tool', Sydney, Australia (2019)
2019 Williams J, 'Virtual Reality Simulation for Neonatal Resuscitation: Bridging the Gap Between the Classroom and the Clinical Environment', Newcastle, Australia (2019)
2018 Williams J, 'How the University of Newcastle Builds Virtual Reality Experiences for Students to Save Babies Lives', Sydney, Australia (2018)
2018 Williams J, 'How the University of Newcastle Builds Virtual Reality Experiences for Students to Save Babies Lives', Melbourne, Australia (2018)
2017 Williams J, Jones D, Ebert L, Williams C, 'Exploring the use of Virtual Reality technology in neonatal resuscitation simulation for midwifery students', WOMEN AND BIRTH (2017)
DOI 10.1016/j.wombi.2017.08.035
Co-authors Lyn Ebert, Donovan Jones
2017 Williams J, 'Simulated Learning in Midwifery: Exploring the use of virtual reality technology in neonatal resuscitation', Melbourne, Australia (2017)
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 2
Total funding $10,000

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.


20201 grants / $5,000

FHEAM EDIC Academic Staff PhD Support Grant$5,000

Funding body: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee - Faculty of Health and Medicine, The University of Newcastle

Funding body Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee - Faculty of Health and Medicine, The University of Newcastle
Project Team

Jessica Wood

Scheme PhD Support Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2020
Funding Finish 2020
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

20191 grants / $5,000

Supporting professional development and patient safety through online clinical supervision during (WIL) placements.$5,000

Funding body: Australian Collaborative Education Network Limited (ACEN)

Funding body Australian Collaborative Education Network Limited (ACEN)
Project Team Doctor Lyn Ebert, Doctor Eileen Dowse, Ms Jessica Wood
Scheme Research Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2020
GNo G1901445
Type Of Funding C3111 - Aust For profit
Category 3111
UON Y
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Ms Jessica Wood

Position

Associate Lecturer
School of Nursing and Midwifery
College of Health, Medicine and Wellbeing

Focus area

Midwifery

Contact Details

Email jessica.wood10@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 4985 4486
Mobile 0437111881
Link Personal webpage

Office

Room RW-225
Building Richardson Wing
Location Callaghan Campus
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia
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