The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2008 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Nancy A. Johnson1, Kathleen M. Deakins1, Robert L. Chatburn2

Background: Respiratory Therapists must possess extensive knowledge to maintain clinical competency. Advances in technology, equipment, research and current practice are driving the need to keep staff informed. A well designed, comprehensive, easily accessible education program is required to achieve this knowledge/competency base. With the emergence of the electronic age, educational material is readily availability and Respiratory Therapy departments are effectively using the Intranet to disseminate information (Respir Care 2007;52:1588). Computer based education can help meet education needs, improve knowledge, enhance learning and provide extensive resources. The purpose of this survey was to identify the efficacy of and staff satisfaction with an Intranet education and resource initiative.

Methods: Clinical training materials and educational resources were linked to an intra-departmental web page and made available to the staff. Therapists were encouraged to use on-line resources, although the conventional resources were maintained. At the completion of a year, therapists were asked to complete a survey regarding the usefulness, effectiveness, and ease of using the computerized data. The percentage of affirmative answers was calculated from total responses completed. Therapists were also asked to score the level to which each Intranet education resource page assisted them (0 = worst, 10 = best). Mean scores were compared with Student's t-test. A difference associated with a P value < 0.05 was considered significant.

Results: Twenty-three surveys were completed with a return rate of 79%. Ninety one percent of respondents felt the new initiatives did increased staff development and education with 82% of the Intranet content scoring above average (>5 score) on effectiveness and usefulness (see Table). Seventy four percent of respondents felt the readily available resources helped them do their job better. Respondents scored the Internet content higher than the conventional content (mean 8.2 vs 7.2, P = 0.008).

Conclusion: From a therapist perspective, a departmental intranet site can provide easily assessable, user friendly, information on a timely basis and enhances conventional staff education and development materials.