Inexperienced nurses and doctors are equally efficient in managing the airway in a manikin model

Heart Lung. 2012 Mar-Apr;41(2):161-6. doi: 10.1016/j.hrtlng.2011.06.008. Epub 2011 Sep 3.


Objective: The aim of the present study was to investigate whether minimally trained medical and nursing school graduates would be equally efficient in placing a laryngeal mask airway (LMA) and in intubating the trachea with the Macintosh blade or a videolaryngoscope in a manikin model. Airway management is an essential skill for both physicians and nurses who may be confronted with a critically ill patient, because in the emergency department the airway is not exclusively managed by medical personnel. Several studies have shown that other healthcare professionals are not any less efficient in securing the airway.

Methods: Ninety-six graduates from medical and nursing faculties comprised our study population. After a brief educational session, participants were randomly allocated into 3 groups to secure the airway in manikins with 3 techniques: LMA (The Laryngeal Mask Company Limited, Buckinghamshire, UK) insertion and intubation with the Macintosh blade and with a videolaryngoscope (GlideScope, Verathon Inc, Bothell, WA). The number of attempts until the first successful intubation, time required for the first successful attempt, and severity of dental trauma were assessed.

Results: No statistically significant difference was observed between physicians and nurses in the number of attempts and in the time required for the first successful attempt with any of the 3 techniques studied. From the 3 techniques studied, LMA placement was the fastest (P < .001). No significant difference was observed between physicians and nurses in the severity of dental trauma.

Conclusion: Nurses are as efficient as physicians in managing the airway safely and adequately with the 3 different techniques in manikins.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Apnea / therapy
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / education*
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / instrumentation
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Education, Medical, Continuing / methods*
  • Education, Nursing, Continuing / methods*
  • Humans
  • Laryngeal Masks*
  • Manikins*
  • Practice Patterns, Nurses'*
  • Retrospective Studies