Date of Award

5-10-2021

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Respiratory Therapy

First Advisor

Doug Gardenhire

Second Advisor

Rachel Culbreth

Third Advisor

Sam Shan

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Perceptions of Respiratory Therapists (RTs) pertaining to the appropriate location of vibrating mesh nebulizer placement are an understudied subject that has the potential to shape training methods and improve the execution of research-based practice methods.

METHODS: This study consisted of a convenience sample and an online survey that was electronically distributed to all students currently enrolled in the respiratory therapy program at Georgia State University. The questionnaire consisted of demographic factors, perception of nebulizer placement questions, and a rating question to determine how students gained their knowledge.

RESULTS: The sample included 34 (47.9%) 1st year Baccalaureate students, 15 (21.1%) 2nd year Baccalaureate students, 8 (11.3%) 1st year integrated Masters students, 4 (5.6%) 2nd year integrated Masters students, 2 (2.8%) 1st year traditional Masters students, and 7 (9.9%) 2nd year traditional Masters students, totaling 71 participants (n=1 survey incomplete). Among those who completed the study 62.0% were female, 59.2% were first-year students, 26.8% were second-year students, and 12.7% were traditional Master students. Of all the participants, 71.8% have no work experience, 16.9% have experience as a paid RT technician, and 9.9% have experience as a Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) or Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT). The responses to the nebulizer placement questions were categorized into 3 categories: correct according to research, somewhat correct, and incorrect. Total scores were computed for each individual according to their responses (2 points for correct responses, 1 point for partially correct, and 0 points for incorrect). The total mean score is 3.25 (standard deviation=1.26), with only 2.8% of students receiving a perfect score. Statistically significant differences were found between student position and total scores, with 2nd year students scoring the highest (mean= 3.83, standard deviation= 1.20, F= 4.94, p= 0.010).

CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that 2nd year students will most appropriately place a vibrating mesh nebulizer in a mechanical ventilation circuit when compared to 1st year students and traditional Master students. This finding supports the idea that 2nd year students are the most up-to-date with current research involving vibrating mesh nebulizer placement. This can be explained by the limited knowledge of first-year students, and outmoded knowledge of traditional master students.

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