Development of Competencies for Respiratory Protection for Health Care Workers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 18 million health care workers in the United States are currently employed in the health care field and at risk of infectious respiratory exposure. With the emergence of global infectious diseases such as Ebola and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), there is a need for increased and more clinically competent use of respiratory protection among healthcare workers. In an effort to improve knowledge about the practice of respiratory protection against respiratory infectious agents, a NIOSH-funded project that included an educational program, observations of HCWs, and focus groups was conducted. This study aimed to develop, implement, and evaluate respiratory protection educational program for HCWs and hospital management. This study identified respiratory protection practice issues among HCWs and strategies for integration of respiratory protection standards and procedures into practice. Findings from these efforts were used to develop respiratory protection competencies. Any worker who has the potential for respiratory exposure to infectious agents should be protected and should be able to demonstrate these specific competencies to achieve a standard level of respiratory protection.

Authors: Rogers B, Buckheit K, Ostendorf J. ; Full Source: Workplace Health & Safety. 2018 Nov 9:2165079918798857. doi: 10.1177/2165079918798857. [Epub ahead of print]