Objective: To investigate the existing experience, training, confidence and knowledge of rural/remote health care practitioners in providing management for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Design: Descriptive cross-sectional, observational survey design using a written anonymous questionnaire. This study formed part of a larger project evaluating the impact of breathe easy walk easy (BEWE), an interactive education and training program for rural and remote health care practitioners.
Setting: Rural (n = 1, New South Wales) and remote (n = 1, Northern Territory) Australian health care services.
Participants: Health care practitioners who registered to attend the BEWE training program (n = 31).
Main outcome measures: Participant attitudes, objective knowledge and self-rated experience, training and confidence related to providing components of management for people with COPD.
Results: Participants were from a variety of professional backgrounds (medical, nursing, allied health) but were predominantly nurses (n = 13) or physiotherapists (n = 9). Most participants reported that they had minimal or no experience or training in providing components of management for people with COPD. Confidence was also commonly rated by participants as low. Mean knowledge score (number of correct answers out of 19) was 8.5 (SD = 4.5). Questions relating to disease pathophysiology and diagnosis had higher correct response rates than those relating more specifically to pulmonary rehabilitation.
Conclusion: The results of this study indicate that some rural and remote health care practitioners have low levels of experience, knowledge and confidence related to providing components of management for people with COPD and that education and training with an emphasis on pulmonary rehabilitation would be beneficial.
© 2012 The Authors. Australian Journal of Rural Health © National Rural Health Alliance Inc.