Two new midwifery e-books are ‘works of art’


Bruce Wainman is the lead author of 'Pharmacology Revealed,' which took about two-and-a-half years to develop. It is now the core text for midwifery students at McMaster and Ryerson University, and Wainman anticipates programs at other universities across Canada will adopt it.

In setting out to design a new midwifery e-book, McMaster’s Bruce Wainman and his colleagues were hoping to provide a fresh resource to students in a discipline that lacked any comprehensive textbooks of its own.

What they created are two unique, engaging learning tools useful to anyone doing primary care obstetrics, including physician assistants, nurses, midwives, nurse practitioners, and family medicine and obstetric residents.

The newly released e-texts entitled Pharmacology Revealed and Physical Assessment of the Well Woman and Newborn use text, audio, video and animation to explain concepts.

“Much of the material out there doesn’t reflect the Canadian reality or the dynamic nature of the subject material, and the printed word does a poor job of reflecting the dynamic nature of pharmacology,” said Wainman, director of the Education Program in Anatomy. He is an associate professor of pathology and molecular medicine who also teaches in the midwifery program.

A group of midwifery faculty, led by Wainman, developed the content from an existing McMaster midwifery course. They then utilized the team of technical and creative resources available through the anatomy lab — a group of designers, illustrators, videographers and composers — to “bring the ideas to life in these fully functional, enhanced e-books,” he said.

“These books are works of art in addition to being outstanding learning tools,” said Dr. Bill Orovan, associate dean of clinical services for the Faculty of Health Sciences.

“Textbooks for midwifery have always been a challenge to secure — we are a small profession with a narrow but deep focus on the materials that we need to understand,” said Eileen Hutton, assistant dean of midwifery. “This means that often texts from other professions are either too broad or don’t cover the material in enough detail. Having our own midwifery-specific textbooks at a very reasonable cost of $40 each is an enormous benefit to our students and course tutors.”

Beth Murray-Davis is an assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology who teaches midwifery and is a practicing midwife. She said a midwifery student might buy a $200 textbook and find maybe 10 per cent of the content useful, so the new e-books are very affordable by comparison.

She expects the e-books to become important resources to practicing midwives and especially to those in other areas of the world who don’t have access to textbooks.

Wainman is the lead author of the first e-book on pharmacology, which took about two-and-a-half years to develop. It is now the core text for midwifery students at McMaster and Ryerson University, and he anticipates programs at other universities across Canada will adopt it.

The second e-book on physical assessment took only four months to create because “in creating the first book the team discovered all the ways to make learning interactive and to engage learners,” said Murray-Davis, who was the lead on that e-book.

Features of both publications include: pop-up boxes on definitions, “did you know” facts and quizzes; videos embedded in text; links to notes, questions and resources; and case studies.

The reader can slow down or speed up audio and video, and the text for all videos is included, so viewing them is optional, said Wainman. He said this is great for people with learning disabilities and those with different learning styles.

The second e-book features interactive demonstration videos showing, among other things, how to do a blood pressure assessment; full newborn assessment; and feel the position of the baby.

The project was funded in part by the McMaster Institute for Innovation and Excellence in Teaching and Learning and by the Gender and Health Education Initiative Program.

Murray-Davis and Wainman said they see more opportunities in midwifery for future e-books, and an e-book on whiplash is in the planning stages.

Click here to purchase Pharmacology Revealed or Physical Assessment of the Well Woman and Newborn.