The OPEN FORUM Series: Teresa A. Volsko, MBA, MHHS, RRT, CMT-E, FAARC

Terry Volsko
Terry Volsko included novice investigators in the study that led to her EDITORS’ CHOICE abstract at AARC Congress 2017.

Presenting at the annual OPEN FORUM at the AARC Congress is a rite of passage for every RT researcher, and getting novice investigators involved in the process is an important goal for more seasoned investigators.

Teresa Volsko, MBA, MHHS, RRT, CMT-E, FAARC, did just that with her EDITORS’ CHOICE abstract, “Evaluation of a Ventilator Bootcamp Improves the Knowledge and Skills Associated with Mechanical Ventilator Use During Inter-facility Transport of Intubated Pediatric Patients,” at AARC Congress 2017 in Indianapolis.

Volsko, who serves as director of respiratory care at Akron Children’s Hospital in Akron, OH, conducted the study with a team of investigators that included RTs new to the research arena.

Why did you decide to conduct the study, “Evaluation of a Ventilator Bootcamp Improves the Knowledge and Skills Associated with Mechanical Ventilator Use During Inter-facility Transport of Intubated Pediatric Patients”? What piqued your interest in this topic?

Ventilator use during transport of children with an advanced airway requiring transport to definitive care is a quality metric our transport program tracks. We found our ventilator use with the transport of children with an advanced airway requiring mechanical ventilation was below the benchmark.

Who were the novice investigators involved in the effort?

This was the first publication for two of the investigators on this study — Jennifer Walton, lead author, and Ilana Heisler, a Rush graduate student.

What did you do to gain support from your organization to conduct this study?

We had the support of our medical director, Dr. Michael Bigham. He is very supportive of research and innovative ways in which the staff engage to improve the care we provide.

What were the biggest challenges you faced as you carried out the study and how did you overcome them?

The biggest challenge was garnering staff buy-in for the importance of the project. Our research team was transparent with the intent, which assisted with staff buy-in.

How difficult was it to work the study into your normal job responsibilities and how did you alter your work routine to make it happen?

The investigators did not receive release time to conduct this study. It was incorporated into the time the therapist had on the job.

How did it feel to learn that your abstract had been accepted to the OPEN FORUM – and most especially, that it was selected for the EDITOR’S CHOICE session?

I was very proud of my team, especially in the first time authors.

How do you think conducting a study like this and having it accepted to the OPEN FORUM helps to further RT careers?

This certainly assisted the respiratory therapy investigators. The publication I’ll count as career ladder points, or points on the career ladder.

What advice do you have for other therapists who might like to follow in your footsteps but just don’t know how to get started?

Be patient when developing your protocol.