BACKGROUND: Endotracheal intubation is commonly performed outside the operating room (OR). Although respiratory therapists (RTs) performing endotracheal intubation is a well-established practice, the optimum way for RTs to be trained and maintain their skills is unspecified. The purpose of this study was to describe training methods and skills maintenance methods and to identify barriers that prevent RTs from intubating in some institutions.
METHODS: A survey instrument was developed by the author. The survey was posted on the AARConnect online social media platform management section in March of 2015 after approval from our institutional review board and approval from the American Association for Respiratory Care board of directors. Respondents from institutions where RTs intubate received questions about RT training and skill maintenance, whereas the other respondents received questions about barriers to RTs performing endotracheal intubation. Both groups answered questions about attitudes about endotracheal intubation practice.
RESULTS: There were 74 respondents who completed the survey. Half (50%) of the respondents were from institutions where RTs performed endotracheal intubation. These institutions were larger in bed capacity and had more adult ICU beds. Other demographic data were similar. The most common training methods identified were simulation training (86%), supervised intubations (84%), and classroom training (65%). Classroom training lasted a mean of 4.3 h with a range of 1–16 h. The majority (91%) were required to complete 10 or fewer supervised endotracheal intubations before competency validation. Skill recertification was automatic if a minimum number of endotracheal intubations were performed annually in 78% of centers, and 11% required a written test or classroom training annually. The primary barrier cited for RTs not intubating was lack of need.
CONCLUSIONS: Endotracheal intubation training for RTs varied among those surveyed. Simulation training and supervised endotracheal intubations were the most common training methods. Endotracheal intubation recertification methods were also wide-ranging, with most RTs being recertified if completing a minimum number of endotracheal intubations.
- Correspondence: Andrew G Miller RRT-ACCS RRT-NPS, Duke University Medical Center, Respiratory Care Services, PO Box 3911, 2301 Erwin Road, Durham, NC 27710. E-mail: .
Supplementary material related to this paper is available at http://www.rcjournal.com.
Mr Miller has disclosed no conflicts of interest.
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