The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2008 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Joel M. Brown1, Boyle Megan1, Charles Fort2, John Emberger1, Gott Fran1

Background: Education staff and management find it difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of the orientation process. In a previous study we published evidence that demonstrated the use of set clinical objectives and a staff self assessment as a tool to evaluate clinical competence and confidence levels in new employees. Virtual Education and Simulation Technology (VEST) has recently become available as an adjunct for training staff. We added the use of the VEST lab to our orientation. In this project we used our self assessment tool to evaluate the effectiveness of incorporating the VEST lab in our new employee orientation process.

Methods: We gave each new employee a self assessment form in order to evaluate their confidence level in the critical care environment. They were given the same self assessment form before the standard orientation process was complete. This allowed us to evaluate the orientation process and assess the need for retraining if needed. Next we exposed the new employees to clinical scenarios via the VEST lab to observe how the employees responded when they were presented with the same critical care objectives found on the self assessment. After completing the VEST lab we had the employee fill out an additional self assessment in order to evaluate if the lab effectively increased clinical confidence. The self assessment and case scenario were scored with the following one through four scale: 1= unable to perform objective, 2= able to perform objective with instruction, 3= able to perform objective with a reference, 4= able to perform objective.

Results: We had a total of 14 new employees over a 12 month period (May 2007 to May 2008). Of the 14 new employees, 8 employees were newly credentialed graduates and 6 employees had previous work experience as RCP's. Orientation process took an average of 7.62 (+/- 0.99) weeks. See table for additional results.

Conclusion: Results indicate that the use of the VEST lab during the orientation process had a positive impact on the clinical confidence of our new employees. Although the greatest increase in clinical confidence is due to the completion of the orientation process, our results show that the VEST lab is a valuable tool that can be used to properly train respiratory care staff.