The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2008 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Leslie Patzwahl1, Carla Wollens1, James K. Stoller1

Background: Arterial line (Aline) insertion has been performed by Respiratory Therapists (RT) at the Cleveland Clinic (CC) since 1975. However, the practice of having RTs place Alines is not widespread and many RT departments express interest in placing Alines. Specifically, a 2008 telephone survey of 10 CC Health System departments and 2 other Cleveland hospitals indicated that only the CC Main Campus Respiratory Therapy section currently places Alines and that 5 respondents expressed interest in doing so. In the context that learning how to place Alines is desirable by RTs and by RT departments, we describe the content and outcomes of a workshop designed to teach placement of Alines to RTs.

Five participants of the one-day workshop received an education packet containing: name tag, schedule, objectives, outline, CC policy and procedures, handouts, diagrams, PowerPoint slides, course evaluation form of presenters and objectives, and an equipment kit. Course content included: introduction, indications, equipment components, insertion procedure/skills check, complications, documentation, Aline maintenance, infection control, dressing change, line removal, and CC policy and procedures. Following review of the course content, the Medical ICU RT Clinical Specialist (CW) demonstrated the procedure of Aline placement. Participants then received supervised hands-on practice with[j1] a mannequin arm, utilizing all equipment and adhering to sterile procedure. Had a willing patient been available, participants would have directly observed an actual patient insertion. Participants then underwent a skills check evaluation on the mannequin.

All 5 participants rated course content, presenters, and their hand-on experience as "Exceeding expectations" and "Superior". On this basis, the workshop was deemed successful.

This early experience suggests that an arterial line placement workshop for RTs can be well-received. Remaining questions regard how effective the simulated placements predicted participants' abilities to place Alines in patients and whether these participants' responses generalize to others.