This is a national survey-based study conducted online among RTs. Qualified RTs working in the public and private sector hospitals in the country, from different educational levels, gender and age groups, were involved in this study. Total of 256 RTs responded to all the survey questions; hence, they were chosen for the study. Respondents included people from different nationalities but active in the professional practice in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and from its all four geographic regions.
The survey was conducted after ethical approval from the Prince Sultan Military College of Health Sciences, Dhahran (IRB number: IRB-2022-RC-008). Participants’ consent was taken while collecting the data for the study. While clicking the survey link, the informed consent showed up first, followed by the questionnaire. Those who were not interested to take part in the survey were given the option to decline the participation and opted not to participate in the survey. Participants were appraised about the goals of the study in the informed consent and they were also notified that it is fully an anonymous survey, and warranted the privacy of their data. A systematic region-based approach was adopted for conveying information to the target population and we used a popular web-based survey platform to collect the responses. Questions corresponding to RT’s knowledge and expertise, perception, and potential barriers to active implementation of LUS were employed to archive the response.
The survey questionnaire was created in the English language. Studies describing the applications of LUS and the competencies required for its safe practice were reviewed [2, 3, 4, 12-20]. Drawing on this knowledge, two researchers with expertise in medical education, LUS, and survey design developed the questionnaire to investigate RT’s knowledge and perceptions about LUS. An expert panel composed by the research group validated the questions. The panel members have encompassed professionals who have expertise in survey analysis besides proficiency in the English language. The panel examined the core content, language, appropriateness of questions for various domains, scoring patterns, etc. The experimental research group comprised of 25 judiciously selected participants of various ages, genders, and educational credentials. The expert panel appraised their observations and advised for necessary OR no modifications before launching the survey. The questions in each domain; knowledge, perception, and barriers underwent face validity and internal consistency and analyzed the responses to each question in the pilot study using Cronbach’s alpha reliability test. The overall Cronbach’s Alpha value is 0.936 (> 0.6) which was found to be acceptable.
The questionnaire was divided into four sections; the socio-demographic segment (Part-1) and the knowledge (Part-2), perception (Part-3), and barrier (Part-3) section. In the socio-demographic portion, respondents’ particulars such as gender, age, nationality, geographical location, educational qualification, designation at the workplace, work experience in years, type of hospital with a number of beds, and details about the specialized area of work were collected. The participants’ training and accreditation in LUS were identified via closed‑ended questions. An incremental scale was utilized to quantify the participants’ LUS practice. Participants were requested to rate the importance of LUS using a Likert scale in addition to their self‑reported proficiency levels and knowledge of LUS. While in the remaining parts i.e. questions relevant to the knowledge included a set of answers just as ‘Yes ‘, ‘No’ and ‘Don’t know’ and a rating of ‘very poor’ to ‘very good’. The perception questions confined the answers ‘Strongly agree’, ‘Agree’, ‘Neutral’, ‘Disagree’, ‘Strongly Disagree’, and one question with a rating scale of 1-5. Finally, the barrier section with one question listed the potential barriers, the data presented in frequencies, and one open-ended question. Each variable under the data has been scored as per the questionnaire apart from demographic characters.
This was a cross-sectional descriptive study using a web survey hosted via Google Forms. Respiratory Therapists working in public and private sector hospitals in differing regions of the kingdom have been involved in this study. The survey was administered in the months of February and March 2022. Responses received in the course of the study were screened and further considered for analysis. Social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, and email communications were used for circulating the questionnaire of this study and requested to answer all the questions pertaining to the demographic data and all three major domains. Questions from the respective domain were presented sequentially, and a pop-up request turned up to answer the un-attended question before moving to the subsequent section.
Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria
Respiratory Therapists practicing in the public and private sector hospitals in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with internet accessibility and who were willing to participate in the study were included. RTs working in medical equipment companies, and those who are retired from active practice were fully excluded from the study. No personal appeal or gratuity was rendered to participants to take part in the study. None of the RTs who completed the survey were excluded from the study.
All completed survey responses were evaluated and recorded in an excel spreadsheet and the statistical analysis has been performed with SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences) Package with version 28. The dissemination of all qualitative variables both demographic and other variables (i.e. close-ended) values of samples have been examined with frequency tables among samples. The comparison tables have been calculated to find the association for comparing the qualitative variables by applying the chi-square test. Two-sided statistical tests with a p-value of ≤0.05 (95%) have been considered significant.