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Clinical Investigations

Improving the knowledge of Operating Theatre Assistants

Authors:

MV Pinto ,

Department of Anaesthesiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Peradeniya, LK
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S Jayakody,

Teaching Hospital, Peradeniya, LK
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TMUK Thennakoon,

Teaching Hospital, Peradeniya, LK
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AB Abesundara,

Teaching Hospital, Kandy, LK
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D Vithanavasam

Department of Anaesthesiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Peradeniya, LK
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Abstract

Background: Operating Theatre Assistants (OTAs) deliver assistance in anaesthesia, surgery and recovery of patients. They require an adequate knowledge and competent clinical skills. In Sri Lanka this category of assistants does not receive any special training.

Method: Operating theatre assistants in two Teaching hospitals in Sri Lanka were evaluated using a questionnaire, which were designed to assess the knowledge of anaesthetic machine and safety features, circuits and gases used in anaesthetic practice, electrical devices and safety, knowledge of resuscitation and airway management and knowledge on vital signs and monitoring.

Results:

  1. < 80% of required knowledge was evident in 94% of people with a p value of <0.001
  2. The knowledge on circuits and gases used in anaesthetic practice <80% of knowledge was seen in 98% with a significant difference of p < 0.001.
  3. The knowledge on electrical devices and safety <80% knowledge in 82% of study sample with P=0.001
  4. The knowledge of resuscitation and airway management >80% of knowledge in 70% of the sample which did not show a significant difference.
  5. The knowledge on vital signs and monitoring >80% of knowledge in 45% of them with a non significant difference of the two variables.
  6. The educational background of the sample was checked. This revealed that 99.5% of them were educated up to the GCS O/L. 97.37% did not have an adequate knowledge of English to understand books and journals.

Conclusion: The knowledge of candidates regarding anaesthetic assistance was significantly less than the standard value. Their educational background was adequate to understand a training program conducted in sinhala language. Within the current health care training system in Sri Lanka it will take many years to achieve this target. We explored the possibility of conducting a program in sinhala language and with available resources. Two training programmes with lectures and hands on sessions were organized and carried out. The evaluation at the end revealed a successful program.

Key Words: Operating Department Assistants, Training ODPs  

DOI: 10.4038/slja.v17i2.1299

Sri Lankan Journal of Anaesthesiology Vol.17(2) 2009 p.61-64

DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/slja.v17i2.1299
How to Cite: Pinto, M. et al., (2009). Improving the knowledge of Operating Theatre Assistants. Sri Lankan Journal of Anaesthesiology. 17(2), pp.61–64. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/slja.v17i2.1299
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Published on 10 Nov 2009.
Peer Reviewed

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