Background: For nurses to provide swallowing care that is appropriate to individual patients’ swallowing functions, techniques for using ultrasound to monitor for aspiration and pharyngeal post-swallow residue would be helpful. Objectives: This study seeks to clarify the effectiveness of an education program concerning the use of ultrasound to assess swallowing function (the “Swallowing Point-of-Care Ultrasound Education Program”). This assessment is based on a comparison of the observation skills of general nurses’ and certified nurses in dysphagia nursing in this regard; both groups underwent the education program, but dysphagia nurses have greater knowledge of swallowing functions as a result of their training. Methods: This prospective descriptive study was conducted as a post-graduate education program in two locations in Japan. The swallowing point-of-care ultrasound education program comprised four elements: e-learning, practical seminar, self-learning, and objective structured clinical examination. The objective structured clinical examination was used after the program to assess whether the participants had obtained the necessary skills. The general nurses were then asked to report the ease-of-use of the education materials. Results: Of the 32 participants enrolled in the program, 22 general nurses and nine dysphagia nurses completed the program. In the objective structured clinical examination concerning monitoring for aspiration, the dysphagia-nurses group had a higher proportion of participants evaluated as “excellent” (p = 0.007); this group had a significantly higher ability to maintain adequate images during the swallowing process than did the general-nurse group (p = 0.034). However, there was no difference between the two groups regarding monitoring for post-swallowing residue. Further, over 70% of the nurses gave a positive evaluation of the user-friendliness of the e-learning and practical seminar. Conclusions: Our results suggest that the swallowing point-of-care ultrasound education program provides both general nurses and dysphagia nurses with sufficient knowledge and skill to monitor for aspiration and post-swallowing residue.
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