Doctors taught inhaling techniques

Western Clinical Schools Dr Robyn Dalziell and manager Amanda Burke with WSLHD Primary Health Care Education and Research Unit A/Professor Smita Shah with Westmead Hospital Respiratory Unit clinical nurse consultant Mary Roberts.

Only ten per cent of patients use their respiratory inhaler correctly  – but an initiative out of Western Clinical School and Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) is looking to change that.

WSLHD staff in collaboration with the University of Sydney have teamed up to educate practicing and training doctors about correct inhaler technique.

Respiratory inhalers are used for patients with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. 

A hands-on workshop for first year medical students proved successful, hosted by the WSLHD Primary Healthcare Education and Research Unit with Associate Professor Smita Shah, Westmead Hospital respiratory clinical nurse consultant Mary Roberts and Western Clinical School’s Dr Robyn Dalziell.

Mary Roberts won the best oral presentation for this initiative in the Primary Healthcare Special Interest Group at the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand Conference at the Gold Coast recently.

A/Prof Shah said it’s vital to educate the future health professionals about inhalers, as research has shown that 90 per cent of patients are unable to use their inhaler correctly and 89 per cent of trained healthcare professionals are unable to demonstrate correct inhaler techniques.

“There is an increasing number of new inhalers on the market and both the clinicians and medical students are often confused about the correct use,” Smita said.

“I recommend that students are supplied their own placebo respiratory devices kits so they can learn quicker and continue to practice how to use different devices.

“Thank you to Western Clinical School manager Amanda Bourke for supplying students with these kits, as well as Mary Roberts and Dr Dalziell for supporting this initiative.”

For people who want to check the correct procedure of using an inhaler, can visit: