Emergency Skills Workshop (ESW)

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ESW and COVID-19

The AOM has instituted a number of measures and precautions for the ESW program during the COVID-19 pandemic. The workshop is being offered in a hybrid virtual and in-person format. To view the full plan for ESW during the COVID-19 pandemic, click HERE.

CMO Emergency Skills requirements during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The following message was sent to midwives in the Midwifery Memo on July 15th, 2020 by the AOM regarding the CMO's decision to not require evidence in training in Emergency Skills (ES) for the registration renewal 2020-2021:

The decision from the CMO helps to alleviate some of the pressures midwives have faced in recent months with the cancellation of ESWs across the province; however, it does not remove the requirement that midwives “be competent in all areas of their practice” and be able to demonstrate such competency “at all times” (Professional Standards for Midwives, 2018). Click HERE to read the complete message.

Emergency Skills Workshop Recertification

The ESW recertification is a half-day workshop, based on content from the ESW Manual, 6th Edition and includes an online exam.

When you register and pay for an ESW event, the bundled cost includes the:
  • ESW workshop
  • ESW manual, 6th edition (new digital format)
  • Online exam

Once you register for the ESW event, your event registration confirmation contains a link to the ESW manual in a downloadable pdf format. The link to the ESW exam is emailed to you 30 days before the ESW event. Please see our Frequently Asked Questions below for more information. More questions? Contact esw@aom.on.ca

When you register for the ESW event, remember to log in to receive your AOM member discount.

The ESW recertification is PD Fund Applicable! 

The AOM offers up to 18 different Emergency Skills Workshops across the province every year. Find the one closest to you by viewing the Events page, check “ESW” in the left pane to filter your results.

Register Here


ESW Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ESW program?

Midwives are required to have specialized skills to deal with emergencies that occur at home and outside of the hospital. The AOM provides the most comprehensive and high-quality, CMO-certified course by and for midwives to stay current in these critical skills. Because many emergencies are rare, practicing skills in a simulated environment via the Emergency Skills Workshop (ESW) is crucial. It is also a mandatory course required to maintain competence as per the College of Midwives of Ontario. The ESW program is a recertification program and participants who wish to participate are required to meet specific eligibility requirements.

Who can attend an ESW recertification?

  • Registered midwives and Aboriginal/Indigenous midwives can attend.
  • Student midwives can attend if they have previously completed the ESW Basic (or equivalent).
  • Second attendants are eligible for participation in the ESW if they are registered health care providers (nurses, physicians, paramedics). If a second attendant who is not a registered health care provider wishes to participate in the ESW, they must request permission to participate and provide additional information to AOM ESW staff.

For questions related to eligibility requirements, please email esw@aom.on.ca.

What are the measures in place for ESW during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The AOM has instituted a number of measures and precautions in order to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission. To read the full document outlining all the steps being taken, click HERE.

Since the CMO is not requiring evidence of training in Emergency Skills until Oct 2021, should I postpone my ESW recertification?

On June 17th an email from the CMO informed midwives that “evidence of training in Emergency Skills (ES) and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) for registration renewal 2020-2021 will not be required.”

The decision from the CMO helps to alleviate some of the pressures midwives have faced in recent months with the cancellation of ESWs across the province; however, it does not remove the requirement that midwives “be competent in all areas of their practice” and be able to demonstrate such competency “at all times” (Professional Standards for Midwives, 2018).

If you were due to recertify in ESW by October 2020 and you decide to postpone, you should do a self-assessment to determine how to maintain competence throughout the 2020/2021 years. Midwives should perform and document these self-assessments, as well as any other activities undertaken to ensure ongoing knowledge, skill and judgement in emergency skills.

Alternatives to ESW recertification include activities such as, but not limited to:

• independent study of the 2019 ESW Manual

• review and discussion of emergency management concepts and steps with practice colleagues

• completion of skills drills

While the CMO is not requiring evidence of training in emergency skills until October 2021, the capacity of the AOM to recertify a large number of midwives in the Spring and Summer of 2021 is limited. To meet member needs, the AOM is expecting to continue with all ESWs scheduled during 2020-21 and offer additional ESWs in a number of locations, with measures and precautions to decrease the risk of COVID-19 transmission (PDF, 480 KB). We encourage midwives to attend ESWs as planned throughout Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 to ensure that requirements for continuing competence are met in October 2021.

For questions about the CMO’s message on recertification, please email Allyson Booth, Director, Quality and Risk Management. 

What is covered at the ESW in-person workshop?

The ESW workshop is a half-day recertification workshop that begins with a group presentation that reviews important features of the ESW program and presents notable research related to emergency skills. Participants then break out into smaller groups guided by ESW instructors to review and practice emergency management steps for a number of clinical topics and scenarios.  Participants should come prepared to demonstrate their knowledge of emergency management steps for the clinical topics covered in the ESW manual as well as neonatal resuscitation.

What is the agenda for my ESW?

The ESW is a half-day recertification workshop. Participants register for either an AM or PM session. Due to COVID-19 the ESW agenda has changed. When the ESW is held at the AOM office in Toronto or at a smaller venue, a staggered agenda will be followed. You will receive information regarding which agenda will be followed at the ESW in the days leading up to the event.

Agenda - AM and PM

2:1 Agenda

Staggered agenda for AOM office or small venue

Group 1 - AM or PM

Group 2 - AM or PM

How do I access the new ESW manual?

When you register and pay for the ESW recertification, the bundled cost includes the ESW recertification, the 6th edition of the ESW manual (new digital format) and the exam. Once you register for the ESW event, your event registration confirmation contains a link to the ESW manual in a downloadable pdf format.

If you reside outside of Canada please visit the AOM shop to purchase a copy of the manual.

How does the ESW exam work?

  • The ESW exam is based on the contents of the 6th edition ESW manual (2019).
  • Successful completion of the ESW exam is required prior to attending the ESW workshop.
  • An email with a link to the exam is sent to participants 30 days prior to the workshop. If you are registering within 30 days of the workshop you will receive the exam link in the registration confirmation email. 
  • You can log into and out of the exam during the 30 day period. It does not need to be completed in one sitting.
  • The ESW exam is open-book.
  • You must receive a grade of 80% or higher to pass.
  • Registration for the ESW workshop includes two attempts at the exam.  If you require a third attempt, please contact esw@aom.on.ca
  • Please be aware that once you answer an exam question and click “Next Question”, there is not an opportunity to go back and review/revise your questions.

Support is available during regular business hours (Mon - Fri, 9:00am to 5:00pm).

If you have any questions, comments or specific feedback about an exam question, please send them to esw@aom.on.ca If you are providing feedback about a particular exam question, ensure you provide information about the content of the question in your email. 

Where can I find an equipment list and instructions about bladder filling?

You can download this one page document that describes the equipment needed for bladder filling as well as the step by step instructions on how to perform it - bladder filling.pdf

What if the event is full?

Space is limited so register early. If the workshop is full you can place yourself on the waiting list and you will be notified as soon as a space becomes available. 

How do I get a refund or transfer to another ESW?

All refund and transfer requests will be subject to a $50 administrative fee. The fee will increase to $100 if the request is made less than 7 days prior to the workshop. Registration fees are refundable only if a cancellation request is made 30 days or more prior to the workshop date. Refund requests made less than 30 days prior to the workshop date and for "no shows" will only be considered under exceptional circumstances (not births).

Do I have to be off-call?

Midwives registered for the ESW are expected to be OFF call for the entire workshop.

Can I bring my baby or toddler?

Only children who are nursing are permitted at an ESW. Nursing parents who bring their children to an ESW workshop must also bring a support person to care for their children for the duration of the workshop. Children are not allowed into the scenario rooms.

What if the event is canceled by the AOM?

Please note that the AOM reserves the right to cancel an ESW due to insufficient registrations in which case registrants will receive a full refund of registration fees paid.

If I need an accommodation, what do I do?

The AOM is committed to providing an environment that is inclusive and that is free from barriers. The AOM commits to provide an accommodation to ESW participants with disabilities, while maintaining the overall integrity of the program.

Individuals requiring accommodation are encouraged to make their request in writing to the AOM's Manager of Clinical Knowledge Translation (CKT), Alexa Minichiello, at least 14 days prior to their scheduled ESW.

Information necessary to understand and respond to the accommodation request should be provided.

If possible, please provide the following:

  • Details of the specific accommodation requested or any known special requirements.
  • Any past accommodation from an educational institution, employer or service provider.
  • Please note: if there is no history of past accommodation, documentation from an appropriate professional outlining potential accommodation may be requested if necessary to assist in the planning process.
  • All accommodation requests will be provided serious consideration. No person will be penalized for making an accommodation request.