We utilized the Avtrach a few weeks back to teach interprofessional skills over trachs to a small group of nursing and speech-language pathology (SLP) students.
There were 2 learning outcomes for each group:
Nurses: 1) cuff deflation; 2) proper suctioning
SLPs: 1) passy muir valve placement; 2) blue dye swallow test
It was a very telling exercise in a number of ways. It was clear that we had not effectively taught the SLP students how to communicate with a nurse in an acute care setting, and that this skill is not really intuitive. Interestingly, the stress of this complex patient profile results in challenges for even basic communication such as personal introductions and explanations of the purpose of their visit to the patient. It was also telling that while the students are taught about the anatomy, they struggle to really understand the juxtaposition between the tracheostomy tube and the larynx/vocal folds, and how/why aspiration can/does occur more frequently in patients with trach tubes.
The activity was excellent; however, in orienting them to these critical components of care and in exposing them to the environment in a high gain/low risk manner. The students raved about the experience and asked to have more opportunities to practice. The Avtrach worked wonderfully and with the proper standardized patient training, is an excellent way to get the students exposure to a difficult patient profile.
- Suzanne Moineau, Ph.D., CCC/SLP
Professor, Department of Speech-Language Pathology
Chair, Academic Senate
California State University San Marcos