Donning and Doffing of Simulated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Improves Learner Confidence When Preparing to Care for Patients During a Pandemic (1090-003704) (To be presented in the session entitled, Research Abstract Oral: COVID-19)
Start time: Friday, January 22, 2021, 9:30 AM End time: Friday, January 22, 2021, 10:30 AM Session Type: Research Abstracts (Completed Studies)
Properly donning and doffing personal protective equipment (PPE) can protect clinical staff from contact with respiratory droplets and aerosols emitted from a patient infected with or under investigation for a special pathogen virus such as SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)1. Simulation can assist in supplementing donning and doffing PPE practice in the clinical setting. Additionally, simulation-based training can improve learner confidence in preparation to care for patients2. However, PPE was at a critical shortage during the COVID-19 pandemic; patient grade PPE materials could not be used for training purposes, as they were needed for patient care3. We hypothesized that learner confidence would improve after a brief training exercise of donning and doffing simulated PPE.
This study was IRB exempt. We developed a hands-on procedural based simulation training session for frontline staff workers at a large tertiary academic medical center during COVID-19. The 20-minute training included viewing a video on donning and doffing of PPE, hands on practice with simulated PPE with instructor guidance and a voluntary post-participation evaluation. The video was created based on CDC and institutional Infection Control. Simulated PPE kits were distributed for hands on practice including a launderable patient care gown, disposable gloves, in-house fabricated single use masks and in-house fabricated reusable face shields. Masks and shields were created using readily accessible materials. An instructor read off a checklist during hands on practice of donning and doffing PPE. In order to practice social distancing, learners were in a group of six or less and remained six feet apart during the training session. Room and materials were disinfected between each use.
2026 UW Health employees participated in the PPE training. Training population consisted of 604 registered nurses (29.8%), 592 physicians (29.22%), 361 Advanced Practice Provider’s (17.82%), 214 members of allied health (10.56%), 213 residents (10.51%) and 43 others (2.09%). Of that, 859 filled out the post participation evaluation (42.39%). There was no indicator on the evaluation of the background of the participants. Average confidence level before training was reported at 3.62 (s = 1.02) on a 5-point Likert scale (1=least confident, 5=most confident) and an average of 4.73 (s = 0.47) confidence level was reported after the training.
Hands-on procedural based simulation training can be done in a short time frame and show a significant change in confidence of its learners. For this training, we saw a significant increase in the confidence of learners. Using simulated, not-for-patient-use PPE materials did not seem to inhibit learner confidence. Limitations to this study were that the post participation evaluation did not ask for the credentials of participants nor did it ask about past PPE donning and doffing experience. Additionally, no assessment of learners was completed to understand competency for donning and doffing PPE. Limitations were due to a short time frame in developing the procedural based simulation training and could be incorporated into future studies.