A glidescope, pictured here, is used to monitor breathing on a patient, often while under anesthesia.

After their first fundraiser, the nursing anesthesiology program purchased new equipment, which will offer better visibility and allow students to train side-by-side with instructors.   

The nursing anesthesiology program put funds toward a glidescope with video laryngoscope. Glidescopes are used for the placement of breathing tubes during general anesthesia, and the video laryngoscope allows the airway system to be seen via video screen.  

Leah Baecht, assistant program director of the nursing anesthesia program and assistant professor, said the glidescope was chosen so students could learn the skills required to place breathing tubes safely while minimizing injuries to the airway. She said the video laryngoscope, which is the glidescope’s system, allows the student and the instructor to visualize each structure. Rather than the instructor relying on what the student sees, what is seen with the laryngoscope is transferred to a screen so everyone in the room can work together. 

"Navigating the anatomy is difficult for students to learn how to do on their own because during direct laryngoscopy, which is the standard of practice and has been for decades, it's very difficult for two people to see inside the patient’s airway and identify all of the anatomy,” Baecht said.  

Baecht said the current glidescope in the lab is the same one she trained on 15 years ago, so it doesn’t have the best optics. She said as current patients have become more complex in comorbidities, there is a need for more airway tools, especially video assisted tools. 

"For the difficult airway, the glidescope comes with the video laryngoscope and it also comes with a specialized stylet that would be threaded through the endotracheal tube,” Baecht said. “The officialized stylet is a rigid shape and sometimes in an anterior airway you need a little less rigid of a stylet, and that's when the bronchoscope can come into play.”

Colton Butler, a third year graduate student in the NA program from Shreveport, Louisiana, said the lab’s current McGrath laryngoscope is functional, but not as good as students would like.  

"It’s gonna be good for students to get their hands on the actual device they will be using in clinical settings for their emergency or difficult airway algorithm, and that way the first time you see it is not actually in clinicals,” Butler said.  

Kevin Stein, chair of the department of nursing anesthesiology and director of the nurse anesthesia specialization, said the new equipment will give students the necessary skills to transition into the clinical setting.   

“It really aids in the teaching component of the skill,” Stein said. “The instructor can be side-by-side with the student and really point out not only the airway anatomy but also help with correct placement of the endotracheal tube and that ability for real-time confirmation of correct placement will certainly help.” 

Sarah Butler, a third year graduate student in the nursing anesthesiology program from Belleville, Illinois, said the new glidescope has attachments for different sized blades, including those used for practicing pediatrics. 

"The kaleidoscope equipment is the type of equipment that I've seen in almost every clinical site I've been to so far, so it's the equipment that is most often used at our clinical sites as opposed to McGrath or the other type of video laryngoscope we currently have in the lab,” Butler said. “I think it'll be very beneficial for students to actually work with the equipment they're going to see most often.”

Stein said the fundraiser was the nursing anesthesiology program’s first, and they wanted an opportunity to provide funding for equipment the lab needed. He said as the program grows, there is a higher demand for equipment.  

"Any time you have growth in a program and you have more students and more hands coming through and needing access to equipment, you really need to have duplication of certain equipment in order to provide the maximum training opportunities, to maximize your training exposure or opportunities,” Stein said. “We certainly have a lot of work yet to do.” 

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