Tan Tock Seng Hospital1
Doctors and nurses perform the Water Swallow Test (WST) in hospitals to determine if a patient has dysphagia. Previously, Speech Therapists trained nurses to conduct the WST with actual patients. During the pandemic, there was a pressing need to train more nurses to conduct the WST whilst complying to safe distancing measures. Therefore, the training model was transformed, and training was completed with standardised patients (SPs) instead. This study investigated the nurses’ perspectives of the old and new training model.
Nurses who completed WST training from January 2018 to April 2021 were invited to complete a survey. A total of 13 and 497 survey responses were received under the old and new models respectively. A Mann Whitney U-test was used for data analysis.
92.3% (12/13) and 80% (398/497) of nurses trained under the old and new model respectively agreed that they are confident in performing the WST independently. Additionally, 92.3% (12/13) and 82.5% (410/497) of nurses under the old and new model respectively agreed that they are confident of identifying dysphagia signs. There was no significant difference between the two groups based on preliminary data analyses of a smaller sample size for the old and new model (N=13 & N=111).
The findings demonstrated that majority of nurses felt they achieved the training’s aims under both old and new models. Hence, the use of SPs achieved similar outcomes while complying to safe distancing measures and should be considered for future training. This ultimately ensures patients have access to timely dysphagia screening.