The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2010 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Peggy Reed-Watts, Lisa Cracchiolo, Darnetta Clinkscale, Kathleen Spihlman; Respiratory Care Services, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis, MO

Objective: Respiratory therapists are often relied upon by physicians and nurses to provide clinical recommendations for treatment and care of patients with respiratory illnesses. As a result it is important for therapists to maintain knowledge of disease processes, new modes of ventilation, evidenced based practices and current research. The purpose of this course is to provide critical care theory through a variety of evidenced based practices to enhance critical thinking skills in a complex ICU environment. Focus is placed on the development and enhancement of clinical evaluation of the patient as a whole, and diagnostic skills needed by the advanced respiratory therapist. Method: Program design consists of a multidisciplinary approach to patient care. Case studies are presented by physicians, nurses, pharmacists, nutritionists and respiratory therapists with the use of an automatic audience response system to answer questions during the presentations. A written test is given each week of the course with a required passing score of 75%. The last day of the course is designed for skill assessment which includes hands on demonstration of setup, operation, trouble shooting and case scenarios for various types of equipment used in critical care. In total, therapists are provided with over 20 hours of education. The course was made a requirement for all registered therapist and certified therapist with at least two years of intensive care unit experience. Participants were surveyed at the end of each course. Results: Since implementation in 2006, a total of 90 therapists (86% of staff) have completed the course. Survey results indicate 97% of participants rate the overall course on a 5 point likert scale of good to superior. When asked “Did this course enhance your critical care skills?” participant responses indicates 99% Yes, 1% No. Conclusion: Therapists are more prepared to recommend and initiate critical strategies to improve patient care when provided the education and resources. A multidisciplinary approach to providing education helps to build trusted relationships between respiratory therapist and healthcare team members. Sponsored Research - None