Aim: Pulse oximetry has become a widely used technology in medicine and is a standard part of monitoring in neonatal medicine. Knowledge of basic principles, clinical and technical considerations is important to optimise clinical benefit of use, but have been shown to be insufficient in paediatric staff. We aimed to assess knowledge of pulse oximetry in neonatal medical staff, a population not previously studied. Methods: A 21-item questionnaire (seven demographic, 14 knowledge) was devised and then administered to neonatal medical staff at all postgraduate levels working in the major public neonatal services in the state of Victoria, Australia. Results: Average test score was 64.4% (range 30.8–92.3%) with no correlation between years of experience and score. All respondents reported experience with oximetry, but only 57% reported adequate training in practical oximetry skills and only 28% in interpretation of downloaded oximetry data. About 45% reported knowing what an averaging time was but only 29% were able to provide an acceptable definition and only 10% knew what averaging time was used on devices in their units. Conclusion: Significant knowledge deficits regarding oximetry are evident in neonatal staff, supporting the need for targeted and continuous training in oximetry.
- Pulse oximetry