The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2009 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

IMPLEMENTING COMPUTERIZED PATIENT SIMULATIONS AS A MEASURE OF STUDENT LEARNING IN PATIENT MANAGEMENT

Arzu Ari; Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA

Background: Computer simulations have been used widely since they were developed. Although many respiratory therapy (RT) programs implement computer simulations to train their students in patient management, the effect of computer simulations as a measure of patient management skills of RT students is unknown. The objective of this study was to determine the impact of computerized patient stimulations on students’ information gathering and decision making skills. Method: A retrospective analysis of 29 RT students taking a pulmonary disease course at a Southeastern University was used in this study. The 5 computerized patient simulations (C&S Solutions Innovative Software Applications, Vincennes, IN) used in this study were congestive heart failure (CHF), acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), myasthenia gravis, cystic fibrosis (CF), and near drowning. Students were assigned to take each computer simulation right after the specific disease was covered in class. The simulations and subsequent scorings occurred throughout the semester approximately once every three weeks. Scores were compared for each student before and after the computer simulations on different diseases were completed. A paired t-test and repeated measure analysis of variance were utilized for the statistical analysis of this study at a 0.05 level of significance. Results: The table below presents the means and standard deviations for the computerized patient simulations by disease. The results of this study showed that all of the post-computer simulation scores were significantly higher than the pre-computer simulation scores of RT students (p=0.001). Although computer simulations did not make a significant difference on students’ information gathering skills (p=0.719) over time in this study, they did improve the students’ decision making skills significantly (p=0.009). Conclusion: The use of computer simulations improves and reinforces RT students’ learning patient management and effectively stimulates their decision making skills. Therefore, computerized patient simulations should be implemented more universally to benefit RT and other health care educational programs and be used as an objective and effective measure of student learning in patient management. Sponsored Research - None

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