Continuous Cuff Pressure Control Systems Examined by Ohio RT – The OPEN FORUM Series

Sherry Babic encourages other RTs to embark on a research project to find a mentor to help guide the way.

Sherry Babic, RRT, studied continuous cuff pressure control systems to see how other products on the market might improve care. Her efforts earned her a spot in the prestigious Editors’ Choice session at the OPEN FORUM in Indianapolis last fall. She explains how and why she embarked on the study.

Why did you decide to conduct the study, “Laboratory Evaluation of Continuous Cuff Pressure Control Systems”? What piqued your interest in this topic?

The methods we were currently using to monitor artificial airway cuff pressures were the minimal occluding pressure or by way of a cuffalator. We knew there were several devices on the market that might potentially improve our practice, so we decided to research other cuff pressure monitoring devices.

Was this your first time conducting a research study? If not how many other studies have you conducted and where have you presented them or had them published?

This was not my first time conducting a research study. However, it was the most difficult study I have done so far. I have presented a total of eight abstracts at the AARC national conventions. This study will be the first I have published.

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

Our department at the Cleveland Clinic has a full-time research coordinator, Robert Chatburn. He has been my mentor for many years, and the support I needed to conduct the research I’ve done. I also have the support of my manager, Tom Paris, who allows me to work on research projects.

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

The biggest challenge we faced while doing this study was putting together a system for gathering cuff pressure data that was leak free. We were able to overcome this challenge by way of trial and error.

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? Do you think it was worth the time and effort?

This study was very time-consuming. I came to work early, stayed late, worked on it during breaks in my daily assignment, and occasionally came in on my day off. The ability to make quality improvements to our practice that benefit our patients makes all the time and effort worthwhile.

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 Editors’ Choice session?

When I first learned that my abstract was accepted for the Editors’ Choice session I was very proud of my hard work. Then I remembered this meant I was required to give a longer PowerPoint presentation and submit a manuscript to the Journal. Then I was nervous. However, it wasn’t as difficult as I had expected.

How do you think conducting a study like this and having it accepted to the OPEN FORUM is helping to further your career in respiratory care?

Conducting studies, and presenting abstracts at the OPEN FORUM, helps further my career in several ways. First, it helps strengthen my knowledge of research and science. Secondly, research makes me question things. The more I question, the more research I do. The outcomes of my research help me ensure I’m providing the best possible care for my patients. Lastly, every time I present I meet new people. These people form a network of professionals that can benefit every aspect of my career.

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?

Anyone who is interested in doing research should find a mentor. It can be someone who has mentored many people over the years or someone who has never mentored but has the experience needed to guide you. I could not have accomplished any of my research without the help of my mentor, Robert Chatburn.

I don’t have any specific plans for a study as of today, but I definitely plan to continue conducting research in the future.

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