Date of Award

Fall 11-8-2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Respiratory Therapy

First Advisor

Dr Lawrence O. Bryant

Second Advisor

Dr Lynda T. Goodfellow

Third Advisor

Robert Harwood

Abstract

SURVEY OF THE KNOWLEDGE AND CONFIDENCE OF RESPIRATORY THERAPY STUDENTS REGARDING TOBACCO SMOKING AND RESPIRATORY DISEASES

by

Delano S. DuCasse

INTRODUCTION: Tobacco abuse is the main cause of illness and avoidable death in the world (World Health Organization, 2010). Smoking-related diseases claim an estimated 443,000 American lives each year, including those affected indirectly, such as babies born prematurely due to prenatal maternal smoking and victims of "secondhand" exposure to tobacco’s carcinogens (American Lung Association, 2011). Of all healthcare providers, respiratory therapists are most often in contact with patients that are diagnosed with smoking related diseases. Therefore, students entering into the field should be well equipped with the knowledge, skills and attitude to educate patients about the importance of smoking prevention and cessation. The purpose of this study was to evaluate students’ knowledge and confidence regarding tobacco addiction and cessation following enrollment in a pulmonary disease course.

METHODS: Students enrolled in a bachelor’s degree respiratory therapy program at a southeastern university were surveyed prior to and following a required pulmonary disease course. Participation was completely voluntary and no incentives to participate were offered. A total of 31 students participated in the pre-tobacco education survey on January 24, 2013 and 24 students participated in the post-tobacco survey on April 29, 2013.

DATA ANALYSIS: The data was analyzed using SPSS 19.0. Descriptive statistics to include frequencies and percentages were used to evaluate the RT student’s responses to survey questions.

RESULTS: Majority of the students only had 1 to 2 hours of lecture that focused on tobacco smoking. The actual tobacco education they received was not a clear cut topic within the pulmonary disease course itself; the topic tobacco smoking was only mentioned under diseases processes such as, COPD and Lung Cancer. The RT students’ confidence levels slightly improved after being enrolled in the pulmonary disease course. The pre surveyed RT students’ average was 55.5%, and the post surveyed average was 69.8%.

CONCLUSIONS: Based on the results, the content of tobacco education within the school’s curriculum is inadequate. With respiratory therapists mostly coming in contact with patients suffering from smoking related diseases, topics that include tobacco smoking and cessation should be included more in respiratory therapy school’s curriculum.

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