Date of Award

12-14-2021

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Respiratory Therapy

First Advisor

Rachel Culbreth

Second Advisor

Corinne Battey-Muse

Third Advisor

Brent Murray

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Adherence to the VAP bundle guidelines remains crucial in preventing VAP occurrence in critical care areas. Despite the expanding research work regarding VAP prevention, there is a lack of literature in this area of research regarding perceptions of respiratory therapists towards VAP prevention, particularly comparing those of junior and senior status as critical care respiratory therapists. Therefore, it is essential to evaluate and assess the perceptions of critical care respiratory therapists toward VAP preventive strategies to address the need for designing a targeted intervention to enhance understanding and adherence toward VAP preventive strategies.

PURPOSE: This study aimed to evaluate the perceptions of junior intensive care unit respiratory therapists compared to senior intensive care unit respiratory therapists toward VAP preventive strategies.

METHODS: Data were collected through an electronic survey created using the guidelines released by the American Thoracic Society. A convenience sample of Respiratory Therapists working both in the United States and Saudi Arabia was collected online through social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp).

RESULTS: A total of 177 responses were collected. However, twenty-five responses were excluded as they didn’t meet the study’s criteria. Therefore, the sample size of this analysis was 152 (85.6%) of total responses. Eighty-nine (58.6%) were male, while 63 (41.4%) were female. The mean age of the total participants was 29.34 (SD± 5.935). Fifty-eight (38.2%) respondents were senior RTs, and 94 (61.8%) were junior RTs. Forty-eight (51.1%) of juniors were male, and 46 (48.9%) were female, with a mean age of 27.06 (±4.522). The results from the data analysis showed that junior ICU RTs have generally positive perceptions toward VAP preventive strategies, as they scored a mean of more than 3.5 (range 1-5) for the majority of the perception statements. There was a significant difference (p=.010) in the perceptions of VAP prevention between junior ICU RTs with more ICU experience compared to junior ICU RTs with less ICU experience. There was no significant difference (p=.439) in the perceptions of VAP prevention between junior ICU RTs with master’s degrees compared to junior ICU RTs with bachelor’s degrees. Lastly, there was no significant difference (p=.652) in the perception of VAP prevention between junior ICU RTs in Saudi Arabia compared to junior ICU RTs in the United States.

CONCLUSIONS: Overall, junior ICU RTs showed positive perceptions toward VAP preventive strategies. Additionally, these results revealed a positive association between ICU experience and perceptions towards VAP preventive strategies. However, higher education degrees and country regions did not affect the perceptions toward the VAP prevention strategies in this study. Future studies should include a larger sample size and compare respiratory therapists to other ICU professionals for VAP perceptions.

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