The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2005 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

CORRELATION BETWEEN MECHANICAL VENTILATION KNOWLEDGE AND EDUCATIONAL PREPARATION

1Teresa A. Volsko, MHHS, RRT, FAARC, 2Carol Mikanowicz, PhD, RN, 2John M. Hazy, PhD, 2Louis Harris, EdD, RRT 1Advanced Health Systems, Inc. Hudson, Ohio; 2Youngstown State University, Youngstown, Ohio

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between respiratory therapists' knowledge of mechanical ventilation: longevity in the field and level of education. There were two hypotheses tested. Researchers hypothesize that respiratory therapists with longevity in the field will achieve higher scores on a written assessment tool than those with fewer years of experience. Additionally, respiratory therapy graduates of traditional degreed educational programs will achieve higher scores on a written assessment tool than therapists trained through non-traditional programs.

METHODS:
A 25-question validated testing instrument assessed mechanical ventilation knowledge. All questions were multiple-choice with four to five single response options. A participant questionnaire was used to ascertain demographic, clinical experience, education and longevity data. Informed consent permission was obtained prior to the administration of the proctored testing instrument at the participant's place of employment. Descriptive, correlation and regression analysis were performed using SPSS 10.0 for windows (SPSS Inc. Chicago, IL, 1999). Statistical significance was established at p< 0.05.

RESULTS:
A total of 159 of a possible 470 participants (34%) completed the assessment tool and participant questionnaire. A few therapists (7.5%) completed non-traditional training programs. Longevity ranged from 0 - 29 years with a mean of 8.5 years (SD± 8.7). Test scores ranged from 12 - 96%. The mean test score was 65% (SD± 19%). Longevity in the field had a statistically significant effect on test performance (p=0.003), as demonstrated by bivariate and multivariate analysis. The effect of type of education on a respiratory therapist's knowledge of mechanical ventilation was not determined until longevity was controlled for by multivariate analysis (p=0.002, R2 = 0.78).

CONCLUSIONS:
The quality of patient care cannot be assumed when deficiencies in knowledge and application of mechanical ventilation exist.

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