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Leann Stadtlander


Although speech language pathologists' (SLPs) knowledge of communication and swallowing has been undisputed, their knowledge and skills related to tracheostomy and mechanical ventilation (MV) seem varied. The consequences associated with the presence of tracheostomy or MV demonstrate the necessity of training. Guided by Bandura's social cognitive theory, this study was designed to determine if SLPs' training influenced self-efficacy and real knowledge, and to evaluate trends associated with SLPs' pursuit of specialized training. A total of 236 SLPs practicing in the United States responded to a researcher-developed knowledge and confidence test for tracheostomy and mechanical ventilation (KCT-TMV). Data were analyzed via ttest, one-way ANOVA with post hocs, regressions, and correlations. Knowledge scores of SLPs were low as identified by responses on the KCT-TMV. SLPs reported confidence and high self-efficacy, yet those ratings did not correlate with high levels of knowledge. Therefore, some SLPs may not recognize they lack knowledge/competency. A lack of competency in continued practice is a violation of the Rules and Code of Ethics of the American Speech Language Hearing Association as well as nonmaleficence. Trends related to the pursuit of training were focal to a lack of resources from employers and inconsistencies in healthcare practice. These results may bring positive social change to the training of SLPs. By doing so, the social impact may result in improved patient care and patient health outcomes for the tracheostomized and MV patient populations.

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