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NotificationsNotify me of updates to TRAINING NEEDS OF HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS WORKING WITH BREASTFEEDING MOTHERS IN ENGLAND AND IN POLAND pp. 257-281 )
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TRAINING NEEDS OF HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS WORKING WITH BREASTFEEDING MOTHERS IN ENGLAND AND IN POLAND pp. 257-281 ) $100.00
Authors:  (Joanna Kosmala-Anderson, Health & Lifestyles Interventions Research Centre, Coventry Univ., Coventry, UK, Louise Wallace, Health & Lifestyles Interventions Research Centre, Coventry Univ., Coventry, UK, Susan Law, Dept. of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Care, Coventry Univ., Coventry, UK, Orla Dunn, Dept. of Psychology, Coventry Univ., Coventry, UK
Abstract:
This article will explore the research literature of the importance of breastfeeding as an
essential grounding for human nutrition, and present specific findings in relation to the
training needs of healthcare workers who care for breastfeeding women and their infants.
Breastfeeding is associated with significant health advantages for infants and mothers. The
World Health Organization and UNICEF recommend breastfeeding exclusively for six
months, but fewer than 35% of infants worldwide are exclusively breastfed for even the first
four months. Expectant and new mothers turn to healthcare professionals for advice and
breastfeeding support. Their ability to meet mothers’ expectations often influences the
decision about initiating and maintaining breastfeeding; yet staff often do not receive core
training on breastfeeding, which results in poor breastfeeding knowledge and competence.
We compared the training needs of English and Polish healthcare professionals in
breastfeeding support skills. Self assessed competence in 23 skills, and knowledge of policies
and guidance on breastfeeding were compared. The sample comprised non-medical
(midwives, nurses and health visitors) and medical healthcare professionals (doctors). The
results for both sub-samples were analyzed separately. The self-report questionnaire was
developed in consultation with experts in breastfeeding practice, pedagogy and psychology,
and potential participants.
Four hundred and twenty seven English and 131 Polish non-medical healthcare
professionals completed our questionnaire. Results showed that Polish respondents were more
likely to see themselves as competent in managing specific breastfeeding problems and in
clinical practice, while English practitioners more often perceived themselves as competent in
regard to socio–cultural aspects of breastfeeding. In both countries breastfeeding knowledge was low. Unsurprisingly, staff who perceived themselves as more competent tended to have
better knowledge.
One hundred and seventy seven English doctors and 54 of their Polish colleagues took
part in the survey. There were no differences in perceived clinical practice competence levels
between the two samples although Polish doctors assessed themselves as more competent in
regard to educative skills. Unlike the English sample, doctors within the Polish sample who
perceived themselves as less competent expressed a greater need for updating. Polish doctors
had wider access to policies and guidance on breastfeeding as well as greater breastfeeding
knowledge.
We conclude that training needs are very similar in both countries. Core training and
regular knowledge and practice-based updates are recommended to all practitioners. Even in
UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative-accredited units, more attention should be given to ensuring
consistent and evidence-based practice in both countries, by updating breastfeeding policies
and guidance on breastfeeding and ensuring that they are used by all healthcare practitioners.
We conclude with recommendations for breastfeeding policy and for practice that are relevant
to healthcare professionals in all developed countries. 


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TRAINING NEEDS OF HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS WORKING WITH BREASTFEEDING MOTHERS IN ENGLAND AND IN POLAND pp. 257-281 )