The management staff of the Respiratory Care Department at the suggestion of the Department of Anesthesiology determined that there was a need for respiratory care practitioners (RCPs) to be trained to perform endotracheal intubation. This need was demonstrated by the frequency with which anesthesia personnel were called away from the operating room (OR) to perform endotracheal intubations in other hospital areas.
Methods: The training program included didactic instruction followed by written examination, simulations, and intubation experience in the OR under the direct supervision of a staff anesthesiologist.
Results: Initially 15 therapists, from all shifts were trained. Currently, there are 20 fully-trained RCPs on staff. These therapists have successfully intubated 160 patients in 178 attempts over a 49 month period. All attempts followed failed attempts by other professionals. No major complications were observed in the patients intubated by RCPs.
Discussion: This training program has successfully provided support for endotracheal intubation procedures, sparing the anesthesiology staff and expanding the role of RCPs in our hospital.