The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2009 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

PREPARING RESPIRATORY CARE STUDENTS FOR MASS CASUALTY

Katie L. Walton1,2, Teresa A. Volsko2; 1Respiratory Care, Akron Children’s Hospital, Akron, OH; 2Health Professions, Youngstown State University, Youngstown, OH

BACKGROUND: In light of the recent natural and bioterrorist attacks there is a heightened awareness of the need for education and training of respiratory care students in disaster preparedness. The objective of this study was to determine the number of respiratory care programs that incorporate mass casualty training in the core respiratory care curriculum and to describe training characteristics for disaster preparedness. METHODS: After institutional review board approval, an anonymous online survey was conducted of all program directors from accredited entry and advanced level respiratory care programs. The three domains assessed in this survey were: (1) program demographics, (2) availability of designated equipment (safety and portable ventilators) for classroom demonstration and use, (3) characteristics of classroom instruction dedicated to mass casualty instruction. Survey results were entered into SPSS for analysis. Descriptive statics were used to report findings. RESULTS: Eight-four of the three hundred and fifty-five electronically distributed surveys were returned, yielding a 24% response rate. A majority of the respondents (85%) were from advanced level associate degree programs whose average class size ranges from 11- 20 students. Seventeen percent of the programs responding offered an average of 5 hours of didactic and lab training on designated stockpiled portable ventilators. Most programs (63%) used a skills assessment to document competency with ventilator instruction. The use of gloves, gowns and proper hand hygiene were taught by 95% of the respondents. Seventy-eight percent of participants addressed the function and use of the N95 filtering face mask, 49% of which had a mechanism to allow students laboratory practice with this device. Less than one quarter of the program directors reported classroom or laboratory instruction in the use of the elastomeric air-purifying respirator or the powered air-purifying respirator. Training videos and mass casualty scenario simulation learning tools were used by 93% of study participants. CONCLUSIONS: Respiratory care programs are incorporating disaster preparedness training into the curriculum. However, the resources available for classroom instruction and characteristics of classroom training vary. Sponsored Research - None

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