The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2006 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

THE ROLE OF THE RESPIRATORY THERAPIST IN PROVIDING SMOKING CESSATION EDUCATION;

Georgianna Sergakis, M.S., RRT, Anne Carvi, B.S., RRT, Holly Schmidt, B.S., RRT; Respiratory Therapy Division, School of Allied Medical Professions , The Ohio State Unviersity, Columbus, Ohio.

Background: Hospitalization is an ideal opportunity for the healthcare provider to initiate or offer smoking cessation counseling. Previous studies have demonstrated that clinicians do not have the time, education or skills to take an active role in smoking cessation at the in-patient bedside. The role of the Respiratory Therapist (RT) in this area has not been extensively examined. The purpose of this study was to examine the role of the RT in providing smoking cessation at the bedside, and to also ascertain therapists' opinions of their position as nonsmoking role models. This descriptive study examined the frequency, training and confidence of RTs with regard to in-hospital smoking cessation interventions. It also addressed the RT's position as a role model for pulmonary health.

Methods:
A survey was sent to a random sample of 363 licensed Respiratory Therapists obtained from the list of 6309 licensed Respiratory Therapists in the State of Ohio . The software program SPSS® (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) was used to create a database and statistically analyze the data. 

Results:
134 (37%) surveys were returned. The age of the sample was predominately over 41 (58.9%) and a great proportion (41.8%) averaged 21 years or more of RT experience. 76% of respondents were RRTs and 63% had AS degrees. Respondents indicated that they did ask patients about their smoking status every time (24.8%) or sometimes (64.8%).Yet only 51.4% felt very confident in approaching patients and 39% of therapists felt that they were very qualified to offer smoking cessation counseling. The RTs viewed themselves as health role models; 94% felt responsibility in role modeling non-smoking behavior. Only 7 of the 134 RTs were current smokers. A small percentage (29.5%) indicated training in provision of smoking cessation from their RT curriculum. According to the results of the chi-square analysis, RT education, credentials, location and type of hospital did not statistically impact RT confidence in smoking cessation counseling.

Conclusions:
  Respiratory Therapists need greater responsibility, incentives, and education for providing smoking cessation. This would contribute to a more active role in smoking cessation counseling for hospitalized patients which could lead to increased rates of cessation. Further investigation is needed to examine the smoking cessation content delivered in RT educational programs. RTs practicing in the field for a number of years may not have been trained to provide the patient with smoking cessation counseling. The current workforce of RTs should be introduced to educational opportunities in order to increase their knowledge of and confidence for providing smoking cessation.

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