• Getting Down and Dirty with Lead Apparel

      Schmuck, Heather; Smith, Jeremy; Cook, Joy; Reddington, Amanda
      Topic/Problem statement While it is common practice to utilize lead apparel in the radiologic technology, dental hygiene, or dental assisting professions for acquiring radiographic images, the appropriate care and use of lead apparel may sometimes falter through complacency or lack of knowledge. Complicating this matter is the lack of manufacturers recommended use and care instructions for the lead apparel never making it to the end users. This study sought to examine how much do students truly know about the appropriate care and use of lead apparel. Context This scholarship of teaching and learning project involved three disciplines: dental assisting, dental hygiene, and radiologic technology. Faculty from each course came together to develop an interprofessional learning activity surrounding units of study on radiographic quality control. Part of radiographic quality control involves lead apparel inspection. Additionally, two of the researchers were previously involved in a study on examining bioburden of lead apparel leading to this additional focus in the learning activity. The proposed student outcomes focused on students learning more about bioburden present on lead apparel, appropriate cleaning for lead apparel, and visual, tactile, and radiographic lead integrity inspection. Institutional review board approval was obtained for data collection related to students knowledge about the care and use of lead apparel and radiation knowledge. Grounding Olson and Bialocerkowski (2014) note that little research has been conducted on IPE effectiveness in allied health profession fields and what has been done is limited more to improvement in attitudes toward other professions and teamwork rather than actual changes in learning. Reeves, Goldman, and Oandasan (2007), do establish that prelicensure IPE can play a pivotal role in reducing negative effects of professional socialization, mitigating negative stereotypes of other health care professional groups. Cook, Schmuck, and Hollingsworth (2019) indicate that end users of the lead apparel protective devices may not be made aware of the appropriate care and use instructions for the lead apparel related to integrity inspections and maintaining cleanliness of the apparel. As both the radiology and dental professions utilize lead aprons, it seemed appropriate to bring these groups together to focus on learning knowledge regarding the importance of proper use and care of lead prior to their professional practice. Approach Faculty from the Radiologic Technology, Dental Hygiene, and Dental Assisting programs developed an innovative Interprofessional learning activity focused on students knowledge surrounding the care and use of lead apparel. The care and use of lead apparel is often not a primary focus in professional practice even though all three of the represented professions utilize lead apparel. The activity involved 52 students representing a cohort from each of the respective programs; 19 from radiologic technology, 21 from dental hygiene, and 12 from dental assisting. The activity involved an IRB approved research focus utilizing a pre and post survey tool previously piloted by the researchers. This survey tool measures learning gains through knowledge scale responses on the care and use of lead apparel and student responses on Likert survey items related to radiation knowledge. Students were randomly selected into two different groups who completed a pre-survey then rotated through two activities: a lead apparel hygiene laboratory activity to measure bioburden on lead apparel and a laboratory activity to examine lead integrity. Each group had opportunity to be actively involved in the examination of one piece of lead apparel through both lab activities. Faculty were present in each lab to guide the activity and assist with interpreting the results for each piece of lead apparel. Students then completed a post survey. This study will present the data for learning gains. Reflection/Discussion/Lessons Learned A total of 45 complete surveys were returned. Any surveys with missing data on either the pre or post survey section for knowledge scale responses (n = 7) were excluded from analysis. Results from knowledge scale responses indicated a significant increase (p = <.01) in the mean score between the pre (m = 4.53) and post (m = 5.58) survey responses. Additional analysis determined this increase in the mean score occurred across all three disciplines. Student learning was positively impacted through this activity and addressed an area of knowledge gap that students can carry with them into practice. While dental hygiene, dental assisting, and radiologic technology may be viewed as unlikely partners in an interprofessional activity, finding commonalities among professions to bring together the disciplines into an active learning situation can prove beneficial to increasing students knowledge. References Cook, J. A., Schmuck, H., & Hollingsworth, A. (2019). Care and use of lead apparel. The Dental Assistant, 88(3), 9-11. Retrieved from www.ada.ausa.org Olson, R., & Bialocerkowski, A. (2014). Interprofessional education in allied health: A systematic review. Medical Education, 48(3), 236-246. https://doi.org/10.1111/medu.12290 Reeves, S., Goldman, J., & Oandasan, I., (2007). Key factors in planning and implementing interprofessional education in health care settings. Journal of Allied Health, 36(4), 231-5. Retrieved from http://www.asahp.org/journal-of-allied-health